6.3/10
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221 user 115 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:

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 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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Details

Official Sites:

Official site

Country:

Germany | France | USA

Language:

English

Release Date:

29 October 2003 (France) See more »

Also Known As:

Cloveski madez See more »

Filming Locations:

Québec, Canada See more »

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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

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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Did You Know?

Trivia

Second collaboration between Nicole Kidman and Director Robert Benton. The first being Billy Bathgate (1991). See more »

Goofs

During the breakfast scene after Faunia stays the night with Coleman, the bread she eats reappears on the table as it was before she ate it. See more »

Quotes

Psychologist: Did you ever kill anyone when you were in Vietnam, Mr. Farley?
Lester Farley: Did I kill anyone?
Psychologist: Um hmm.
Lester Farley: Isn't that what I was supposed to do when I went to fuckin' Vietnam, fuckin' kill gooks? They said everything goes, so everything went.
See more »

Connections

References The Oprah Winfrey Show (1986) See more »

Soundtracks

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

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