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The Human Stain (2003)

6.3
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Ratings: 6.3/10 from 22,256 users   Metascore: 57/100
Reviews: 210 user | 120 critic | 39 from Metacritic.com

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

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Title: The Human Stain (2003)

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Cast

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

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

Taglines:

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:

 »
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Details

Official Sites:

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Country:

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Language:

Release Date:

29 October 2003 (France)  »

Also Known As:

The Human Stain  »

Filming Locations:

 »

Box Office

Budget:

$30,000,000 (estimated)

Opening Weekend:

$113,634 (Japan) (18 June 2004)

Gross:

$705,018 (Japan) (9 July 2004)
 »

Company Credits

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Color:

Aspect Ratio:

2.35 : 1
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Did You Know?

Trivia

According to Wentworth Miller, the casting agent did not believe that he was part-African American like the character Coleman Silk. Miller also told the casting agent about an incident at Princeton University. While he was a student there, he published an editorial cartoon in the campus newspaper that was misconstrued as a racial slur against Professor Cornel West. Silk has a similar situation in the film. Miller faxed family pictures and articles about the controversy to prove his story. West later attended the film's premiere and made up with Miller. See more »

Goofs

During the breakfast scene after Faunia stays the night with Coleman, the bread she eats reappears on the table as it was before she ate it. See more »

Quotes

Faunia Farley: You're a crow... who doesn't know how to be a crow.
See more »

Connections

Featured in Nicole Kidman: An American Cinematheque Tribute (2003) See more »

Soundtracks

Day Dream
(1939)
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
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User Reviews

 
Vastly understated and underrated
12 September 2005 | by (United States) – See all my reviews

I'm terrifically surprised at all the middling reviewing of this film, to the point where I feel I have to echo the last few reviews that stand in opposition.

This is a film that just does it right. Unlike so many other dramas with heavyweight casts, this really feels like it's about the story, not the work. Kidman, aside from slipping into her native accent on a handful of words, is fantastic -- perhaps her very best. Harris, like Streep and maybe two or three other actors, brings a real humanity to a role that any other actor would just fill out.

But most of all, everything is in the background and hence subservient to the story. The gorgeous lighting, scenery, dialog -- the whole craft of the film is done the way it's supposed to be done, in the damn background. That all said, I think the real reason this film is slighted is because it's a little too good for the average viewer. It doesn't live up to their idea of what a lit-cum-drama is supposed to feel like. I just have a feeling that in several years this will be revisited and appreciated much more. Now, I'm going to go watch it again!


61 of 70 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
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