Critic Reviews

57

Metascore

Based on 39 critic reviews provided by Metacritic.com
88
Chicago Sun-Times
Most movie characters are like Greek gods and comic book heroes: We learn their roles and powers at the beginning of the story, and they never change. Here are complex, troubled, flawed people, brave enough to breathe deeply and take one more risk with their lives.
88
Chicago Tribune
The Human Stain has those qualities we often want but rarely see in our films: intelligence and ambition, decency and humanity, poetry and pity, fire and ice. Watch it and weep.
75
The Human Stain is heavy going. It's the flashes of dramatic lightning that make it a trip worth taking.
75
Philadelphia Inquirer
The sequences with the melancholy Faunia are monochromatic and those with Lester perfunctory. Benton too neatly -- and too hastily -- wraps up a story that would surely exert more power if it were messy and unrushed.
75
New York Post
Though Human Stain is sometimes too chaotic and sometimes too neat, it boasts some of the best acting of the year.
70
The Hollywood Reporter
The thriller aspects of the story and the overall solid level of acting -- including a sexy performance from a red-hot Nicole Kidman -- keep the audience interested but never fully emotionally involved.
58
Entertainment Weekly
The Human Stain is, contradictorily, drained of color by the spotlight turned on its charismatic leads. Between the labors of simplifying the story for the screen and accommodating the stardust of world-class actors, an essentially, uniquely American tragic hero and heroine are bleached of real American tragedy.
50
San Francisco Chronicle
Falls victim to a fatal lack of narrative drive, suspense and drama. Kidman and Hopkins are wrong for their roles, and that, combined with a pervading inevitability, cuts the film off from any sustained vitality. The result is something admirable but lifeless.
50
New York Daily News
The mordant humor and far-reaching observations of the book don't come across in Robert Benton's "Masterpiece Theatre"-style direction.
40
Wall Street Journal
The book presented several special, perhaps even insuperable, problems for adaptation to the screen, and the movie, which was directed by Robert Benton from a screenplay by Nicholas Meyer, hasn't solved them.
38
It's problematic enough that the movie's lead characters are unlikable. But worse is the blackening of The Human Stain with a trite and forced plot, uninteresting digressions and clunky direction.

More Critic Reviews

See all external reviews for The Human Stain (2003) »

See also

Awards | FAQ | User Reviews | User Ratings | External Reviews | Message Board