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The Human Stain (2003)
I don't see whats so bad
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.
***Possible Spoilers*** A lot of critics loved this movie, just as a lot of critics hated it. I was drawn to this movie because I had heard that it was Nicole Kidman's greatest performance. I heard this not from a movie critic, but from a Nicole hater. The Nicole hater was right; Nicole Kidman delivers what, I believe, to be one of the greatest performances by an actress, ever. She is close to tears throughout most of the movie, just as her character, Grace, would be.
The movie is about Grace, who flees gangsters and ends up in a small town, Dogville. At first she is greeted with kindness-townsfolk refuse to allow her to help them work, they give her gifts upon her supposed departure, etc. It is, however, only a short time until the townsfolk bare their teeth. They exploit her, abuse her, even force her to walk around with an iron chain attached to her neck!
The movie is beautiful, perfectly acted, and wonderfully written. John Hurt's narration is not obnoxious as in other movies, but quite endearing.
You may not like this movie, but it is worth seeing.