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The Human Stain (2003)

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When a disgraced former college dean has a romance with a mysterious younger woman haunted by her dark, twisted past, he is forced to confront a shocking fact about his own life that he has kept secret for 50 years.



(novel), (screenplay)
4,877 ( 1,001)
3 wins & 5 nominations. See more awards »



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Cast overview, first billed only:
Lizan Mitchell ...
Phyllis Newman ...
Iris Silk
Young Iris


The Human Stain is the story of Coleman Silk (Hopkins), a classics professor with a terrible secret that is about to shatter his life in a small New England town. When his affair with a young troubled janitor (Kidman) is uncovered, the secret Silk had harbored for over fifty years from his wife, his children and colleague, writer Nathan Zuckerman, fast explodes in a conflagration of devastating consequences. It is Zuckerman who stumbles upon Silk's secret and sets out to reconstruct the unknown biography of this eminent, upright man, esteemed as an educator for nearly all his life, and to understand how this ingeniously contrived life came unraveled. Written by lakeshoreentertainment.com

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis


How far would you go to escape the past?

Motion Picture Rating (MPAA)

Rated R for language and sexuality/nudity | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:



Official Sites:



| |


Release Date:

31 October 2003 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Cloveski madez  »

Filming Locations:


Box Office


$30,000,000 (estimated)

Opening Weekend:

$839,170 (France) (31 October 2003)


$5,381,227 (USA) (30 January 2004)

Company Credits

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs


Sound Mix:


Aspect Ratio:

2.35 : 1
See  »

Did You Know?


The mole on the side of Anthony Hopkins' head was added, due to the fact that Wentworth Miller has a mole on the side of his head. Hopkins also wore green contacts to match the color of Miller's eyes. See more »


When Coleman is looking in the dictionary for the definition of the word "Spooks" he turns to nearly the beginning of the book that couldn't possibly be the letter "S" See more »


Faunia Farley: You can't go out there, he's fuckin' crazy.
Coleman Silk: Yeah, so am I.
[picks up a baseball bat]
See more »


References The Oprah Winfrey Show (1986) See more »


Day Dream
Written by Duke Ellington and Billy Strayhorn
Performed by Johnny Hodges & Orchestra
Courtesy of The RCA Records Label, a unit of BMG Music
Under license from BMG Strategic Marketing Group
See more »

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User Reviews

A Near Perfect Film
20 August 2004 | by (Olathe, KS, USA) – See all my reviews

I honestly can not think of a single thing wrong with this movie. The actors are top rate actors that consistently turn in exceptional performances. This movie is no exception.

The plot is intriguing. The pasts of the main protagonists unfold, making their characters exceptionally deep. We get to see these characters evolve in interesting and compelling ways. There are shades-of-grey in these characters. We don't have the perfect hero. We have gentle people with kind hearts who make mistakes.

The direction is perfectly understated. There is a lot of nuance in the way the scenes are filmed and the way in which the actors are framed. Instead of the love scenes being the all-to-familiar humping and groaning, these scenes are filmed without graphic nudity. Note the way in which Anthony Hopkins places his hands on Nicole Kidman's back. It is so loving and tender and intimate.

Even the editing is right on. The length of the film, at 106 minutes, is the perfect length. There are no wasted scenes.

Some of the material is hard to watch. Note the posture and the facial expression on Anthony Hopkins in the kitchen scene in which Nicole Kidman is giving him a hard time. It is subtle and painful to watch.

If you are into light-hearted escapist film, this isn't for you. The subject matter is deep and difficult. I like these kinds of movies and this one is one of the best in class.

Kudos to all involved with this film.

140 of 176 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?

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How can the professor be white while his 2 parents are black? Kyrios_Chalakatevakis
A film about race and class, dominated by rich white actors SaDaTay
Critics should be eating Crow SidneySassy
Zuckerman's past dbogosian-1
Why did the girlfriend cried on the train? ionaradelima
Bizarre euronick61
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