6.3/10
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219 user 114 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.

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(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:

Official site

Country:

| |

Language:

Release Date:

29 October 2003 (France)  »

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 Steena is dancing for the young Silk, her panties change position between shots. See more »

Quotes

Faunia Farley: Action is the enemy of thought.
See more »

Connections

References The Manchurian Candidate (1962) See more »

Soundtracks

I Got It Bad and That Ain't Good
(1941)
Music by Duke Ellington
Lyrics by Paul Francis Webster (as Paul Webster)
Performed by The Oscar Peterson Trio
Courtesy of The Verve Music Group
Under license from Universal Music Enterprises
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User Reviews

 
Vastly understated and underrated
12 September 2005 | by See 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!


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