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.
The daughter of a brilliant but mentally disturbed mathematician, recently deceased, tries to come to grips with her possible inheritance: his insanity. Complicating matters are one of her father's ex-students, who wants to search through his papers, and her estranged sister, who shows up to help settle his affairs.
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
There has been a lot of bad press about this movie, and, to a point, I don't understand why. Of course, I think that both Hopkins and Kidman were miscast in their respective roles, but at least Kidman trounced her miscasting and turned in a very strong, artistically nuanced performance.
This movie, to me anyways, seemed to be a bit theatrical. The camera shots are often distant, not allowing us to see the actors close up. The script is very loose, allowing for the actors to take the roles and make them their own. Also, most of the actors give very broad, exaggerated ( but not too much) performances. I consider this to be good. We live in an age when theatre is losing its popularity and the director of this film seems to have found a way to bring theatre into cinema.
There are some slight flaws in the movie. Hopkins speaks with a Weslh accent for no apparent reason. The ending is a tad bit drawn out, not terribly so.
Above all though, I consider this film to be a work of art. It certainly made me think about my own life; it's very powerful.
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