The Human Stain (2003)

The Human Stain (2003)
  • Time: 106 min
  • Genre: Drama | Romance | Thriller
  • Director: Robert Benton
  • Cast: Anthony Hopkins, Nicole Kidman, Ed Harris


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.

One comment

  • I knew nothing about this film before viewing, except the potential power of Hopkins, Kidman and Sinese, and the screenplay adapted from Roth’s novel. I found it so beguiling that I wanted to watch it again as soon as it ended.

    The cinematography is breathtaking and the opening scenes alone put this on my list of “Best Winter Scenes, Perfect for Hot Summer Days”. Hopkins and Sinese play well off each other, as do Hopkins and Kidman. A few times Kidman’s performance felt contrived (like when she’s smoking without *really* smoking), but that’s nitpicking. Perhaps what I like best about this film is that it demands you pay attention if you really want to get it. And there’s a lot to be gotten: secrets, deceptions, tragedies, lies, betrayals; it could be it’s own book of the Bible. I also like the courage of this film, tackling tough and always controversial issues without sinking into some dark abyss…and then leaving you there.

    It’s seldom that I like movies adapted from great novels and rarer still that I’ll read a novel from which a film is adapted. This time I’ve been taken; I just ordered the book.

    So how is this like a gourmet meal? Beautiful to the eye; satisfying to the palate; full or new scents, flavors and combinations; leaves one satiated and wanting to do it all over again.

    I recommend this for anyone whose idea of entertainment is discovering a new or different way of looking at the world, and certainly at the specific issues raised here. Two hours well spent.

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