The Human Stain Image

Mixed or average reviews - based on 39 Critics What's this?

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Generally favorable reviews- based on 30 Ratings

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  • Starring: , , ,
  • Summary: The story of Coleman Silk (Hopkins), a distinguished professor at a prestigious New England college whose professional life is shattered by allegations of racism and whose personal life is infected with cancer of a lie he has been living with for fifty years. (Miramax)
Score distribution:
  1. Positive: 19 out of 39
  2. Negative: 2 out of 39
  1. 88
    Most movie characters are like Greek gods and comic book heroes: We learn their roles and powers at the beginning of the story, and they never change. Here are complex, troubled, flawed people, brave enough to breathe deeply and take one more risk with their lives.
  2. Reviewed by: Richard Corliss
    Elegant, thoughtful film.
  3. The sequences with the melancholy Faunia are monochromatic and those with Lester perfunctory. Benton too neatly -- and too hastily -- wraps up a story that would surely exert more power if it were messy and unrushed.
  4. Reviewed by: Alan Morrison
    Performances are good but not career best.
  5. The movie is a disappointment -- not a stain on Benton's career as a serious and literate director, but only half the powerful drama it might have been.
  6. Reviewed by: Ty Burr
    Benton has laid bare a great author's creaky plotting only to deliver a melodrama with bookish pretensions.
  7. All in all, it's like a bachelor's apartment: a complete mess.

See all 39 Critic Reviews

Score distribution:
  1. Positive: 12 out of 19
  2. Negative: 6 out of 19
  1. FrankO
    Mar 25, 2009
    This movie had surprising depth that I was not prepared for. Although the casting did seem out of place, I enjoyed the storyline, especially Silk's dilemma regarding his family and passing as white. It was a surprise twist in the film and well worth the wait. Expand
  2. JoeS.
    Apr 27, 2006
    Kidman and especially Ed Harris deliver world-class acting. Wanna see true acting skill? Watch Harris in this movie. The cinematography almost pulls your heart out of your chest. The music -- especially at the end -- is very effective. Somehow this movie really has an emotional effect, even though the story itself is not that engaging. Expand
  3. TonyB.
    Dec 11, 2005
    This is an interesting story told in a more than satisfactory way. Its structure, especially its use of flashbacks, is very effective. There are a number of solid ideas here that are developed in a way that assumes the audience watching the film has the intelligence to appreciate them. The acting is first rate, as expected with this cast, but it's hard to believe that the Anthony Hopkins character is not Caucasian. Expand

See all 19 User Reviews