6.2/10
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226 user 116 critic

The Human Stain (2003)

Trailer
1:45 | Trailer
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 fifty years.

Director:

Robert Benton

Writers:

Philip Roth (novel), Nicholas Meyer (screenplay)
3 wins & 5 nominations. See more awards »

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Photos

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
Anthony Hopkins ... Coleman Silk
Nicole Kidman ... Faunia Farley
Ed Harris ... Lester Farley
Gary Sinise ... Nathan Zuckerman
Wentworth Miller ... Young Coleman Silk
Jacinda Barrett ... Steena Paulsson
Harry Lennix ... Mr. Silk
Clark Gregg ... Nelson Primus
Anna Deavere Smith ... Mrs. Silk
Lizan Mitchell Lizan Mitchell ... Ernestine
Kerry Washington ... Ellie
Phyllis Newman ... Iris Silk
Margo Martindale ... Psychologist
Ron Canada ... Herb Keble
Mili Avital ... Young Iris
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Storyline

This is the story of Coleman Silk (Sir Anthony 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 young troubled janitor Faunia Farley (Nicole Kidman) is uncovered, the secret Silk had harbored for over fifty years from his wife, his children, and colleague, writer Nathan Zuckerman (Gary Sinise), 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 of his life, and to understand how this ingeniously contrived life became unravelled. 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:

View content advisory »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

To prepare for her role, Nicole Kidman (Faunia Farley) visited women's shelters and talked to former victims of abuse for inspiration. 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

Mrs. Silk: Coleman, you think like a prisoner. You're white as snow and you think like a slave.
See more »

Connections

References The Manchurian Candidate (1962) See more »

Soundtracks

Day Dream
(1939)
Written by Duke Ellington and Billy Strayhorn
Performed by Marian McPartland
Courtesy of Concord Records, Inc.
See more »

User Reviews

 
A Near Perfect Film
20 August 2004 | by chronSee all my reviews

I honestly can not think of a single thing wrong with this movie. The actors are top rate actors that consistently turn in exceptional performances. This movie is no exception.

The plot is intriguing. The pasts of the main protagonists unfold, making their characters exceptionally deep. We get to see these characters evolve in interesting and compelling ways. There are shades-of-grey in these characters. We don't have the perfect hero. We have gentle people with kind hearts who make mistakes.

The direction is perfectly understated. There is a lot of nuance in the way the scenes are filmed and the way in which the actors are framed. Instead of the love scenes being the all-to-familiar humping and groaning, these scenes are filmed without graphic nudity. Note the way in which Anthony Hopkins places his hands on Nicole Kidman's back. It is so loving and tender and intimate.

Even the editing is right on. The length of the film, at 106 minutes, is the perfect length. There are no wasted scenes.

Some of the material is hard to watch. Note the posture and the facial expression on Anthony Hopkins in the kitchen scene in which Nicole Kidman is giving him a hard time. It is subtle and painful to watch.

If you are into light-hearted escapist film, this isn't for you. The subject matter is deep and difficult. I like these kinds of movies and this one is one of the best in class.

Kudos to all involved with this film.


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Details

Official Sites:

Official site

Country:

Germany | France | USA

Language:

English

Release Date:

29 October 2003 (France) See more »

Also Known As:

The Human Stain See more »

Filming Locations:

Québec, Canada See more »

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Box Office

Budget:

$30,000,000 (estimated)

Opening Weekend USA:

$1,034,195, 2 November 2003

Gross USA:

$5,381,908

Cumulative Worldwide Gross:

$22,954,068
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Dolby Digital

Color:

Color

Aspect Ratio:

2.35 : 1
See full technical specs »

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