6.3/10
27,159
219 user 123 critic

The Human Stain (2003)

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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:

Writers:

(novel), (screenplay)
3 wins & 5 nominations. See more awards »

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
... Coleman Silk
... Faunia Farley
... Lester Farley
... Nathan Zuckerman
... Young Coleman Silk
... Steena Paulsson
... Mr. Silk
... Nelson Primus
... Mrs. Silk
Lizan Mitchell ... Ernestine
... Ellie
Phyllis Newman ... Iris Silk
... Psychologist
... Herb Keble
... 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:

Miramax | Official site

Country:

| |

Language:

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

Opening Weekend USA:

$1,034,195, 2 November 2003, Limited Release

Gross USA:

$5,381,227, 1 February 2004

Cumulative Worldwide Gross:

$24,863,804
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

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Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Color:

Aspect Ratio:

2.35 : 1
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Did You Know?

Trivia

To prepare for her role, Nicole Kidman visited women's shelters and talked to former victims of abuse for inspiration. See more »

Goofs

When Coleman is looking in the dictionary for the definition of the word "Spooks" he turns to nearly the beginning of the book that couldn't possibly be the letter "S" See more »

Quotes

Coleman Silk: You can't make a college without breaking egg heads, and uh, I couldn't write a book called Spooks that didn't sound like the raving of a lunatic.
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Connections

References The Oprah Winfrey Show (1984) See more »

Soundtracks

Honeysuckle Rose
(1929)
Music by Fats Waller (as Thomas 'Fats' Waller)
Lyrics by Andy Razaf
Performed by Jess Stacy
Courtesy of Soundies Inc.
By Arrangement with De Pugh Music
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User Reviews

 
A satisfying film -- I wish there were more like it.
31 December 2003 | by 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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