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The Human Stain (2003)

6.3
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Ratings: 6.3/10 from 22,892 users   Metascore: 57/100
Reviews: 210 user | 121 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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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:

Culpa Humana  »

Filming Locations:

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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

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.
See more »

Connections

References The Oprah Winfrey Show (1986) See more »

Soundtracks

Cry Me a River
(1955)
Written by Arthur Hamilton
Performed by Ken Peplowski
Courtesy of Concord Records, Inc.
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User Reviews

 
A satisfying film -- I wish there were more like it.
31 December 2003 | by (Topeka, 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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Message Boards

Recent Posts
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
I have a question or two :) gorkee
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