6.3/10
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219 user 122 critic

The Human Stain (2003)

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.

Director:

Writers:

(novel), (screenplay)

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ON DISC
3 wins & 5 nominations. See more awards »

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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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Release Date:

31 October 2003 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Cloveski madez  »

Filming Locations:

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Box Office

Budget:

$30,000,000 (estimated)

Opening Weekend:

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

Gross:

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

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Technical Specs

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Aspect Ratio:

2.35 : 1
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Did You Know?

Trivia

Feature film debut for Wentworth Miller. The star of this film, Nicole Kidman, would later star in Miller's debut as a screenwriter, Stoker (2013). See more »

Goofs

When Coleman first gives Faunia a ride to her place, it is raining outside. When he gets out of the car to go inside, the entire windshield is dry and clean as a whistle, even the area that is outside the reach of the wipers. See more »

Quotes

Nelson Primus: How do you know she doesn't want to use you to make up for all that she's lost? Do I represent you in a paternity suit, Coleman? "Give up the girl, Achilles." I took your intro to European lit umpteen years ago as an undergrad. Give her up, and your troubles go away.
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Connections

References The Manchurian Candidate (1962) 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

 
A satisfying film -- I wish there were more like it.
31 December 2003 | by (Lawrence, KS) – See all my reviews

This just opened in Lawrence, KS, a university town, at the theater that shows indies and foreign films. Maybe Miramax is hoping for a "Big Fat Greek Wedding" type of reaction?

I've not read the book but, to me, this was a very satisfying film, with some examination of a number of issues: the costs to a black person of crossing over and becoming white -- and/or the price to anyone of becoming disconnected from their families. Although disconnection may give greater freedom in some ways, in others it forms an uncomfortable prison. Another issue might be described as a variant on, "Let he who is without sin cast the first stone." And yet another is that the "stain" that all of us carry also stains others with whom we come in contact. And maybe there's a dear price (and reward?) that may be paid for following heart too much rather than head?

Really solid performances by some great actors -- Hopkins, Kidman, Harris -- and the others.

Some gratuitous nudity was injected, maybe to help ticket sales?, but it was not too far-fetched from the story line.

All the backgrounds fit (I grew up in Vermont and lived in academia many years elsewhere); the landscape and the Volvos plus the professor's house had a very authentic feel.


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