The Human Stain (2003)
My Rating: 3.5/5 STARS
MovieStudio Quote >> “Romantic, Fiery and Thrilling!”
Director Robert Benton brings Philip Roth’s 2000 novel THE HUMAN STAIN to the screen in this lavish production, with expert cinematography from Jean-Yves Escoffier. Coleman Silk (Anthony Hopkins) is a light-skinned African-American college professor who has kept his true racial identity secret for the majority of his life. His career comes to a sudden halt when he makes a comment that is misinterpreted as a racial slur. Soon after he is fired, Silk hooks up with young Faunia Farely (Nicole Kidman), a local janitor. The affair with Farely, who is almost half Silk’s age, becomes small-town gossip, and attracts the attention of Farely’s psychotic ex-husband, Lester (Ed Harris).
As Lester seeks vengeance, still angry at his ex-wife, Silk must make some tough decisions about his affair with Farely, leading to the film’s nail-biting conclusion. Benton draws incredibly convincing performances from his two lead actors. Hopkins ably transcends his Caucasian ethnicity to play an African American. And Kidman fully embraces her character as a downtrodden janitor who is determined to rise beyond her humble beginnings. The two actors conquer the difficult subject matter, offering fascinating commentary on racial mores and relationship issues.