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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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 ... 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

The mole on the side of Sir Anthony Hopkins' (Coleman Silk's) head was added, due to the fact that Wentworth Miller (Young Coleman Silk) has a mole on the side of his head. Hopkins also wore green contacts to match the color of Miller's eyes. 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

Nathan Zuckerman: I'm writing a book... it's called 'The Human Stain'.
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Connections

References The Oprah Winfrey Show (1986) See more »

Soundtracks

Embraceable You
(1930)
Music by George Gershwin (as George)
Lyrics by Ira Gershwin
Performed by Teddy Wilson
Courtesy of San Juan Music Group
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User Reviews

 
Vastly understated and underrated
12 September 2005 | by hipcheckSee all my reviews

I'm terrifically surprised at all the middling reviewing of this film, to the point where I feel I have to echo the last few reviews that stand in opposition.

This is a film that just does it right. Unlike so many other dramas with heavyweight casts, this really feels like it's about the story, not the work. Kidman, aside from slipping into her native accent on a handful of words, is fantastic -- perhaps her very best. Harris, like Streep and maybe two or three other actors, brings a real humanity to a role that any other actor would just fill out.

But most of all, everything is in the background and hence subservient to the story. The gorgeous lighting, scenery, dialog -- the whole craft of the film is done the way it's supposed to be done, in the damn background. That all said, I think the real reason this film is slighted is because it's a little too good for the average viewer. It doesn't live up to their idea of what a lit-cum-drama is supposed to feel like. I just have a feeling that in several years this will be revisited and appreciated much more. Now, I'm going to go watch it again!


111 of 130 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you? | Report this
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Details

Official Sites:

Official site

Country:

Germany | Ireland | USA

Language:

English

Release Date:

18 December 2003 (Germany) 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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