[Screen It]

 

"THE HUMAN STAIN"
(2003) (Anthony Hopkins, Nicole Kidman) (R)

Alcohol/
Drugs
Blood/Gore Disrespectful/
Bad Attitude
Frightening/
Tense Scenes
Guns/
Weapons
Minor Minor Extreme Mild None
Imitative
Behavior
Jump
Scenes
Music
(Scary/Tense)
Music
(Inappropriate)
Profanity
Mild None Minor None Extreme
Sex/
Nudity
Smoking Tense Family
Scenes
Topics To
Talk About
Violence
Extreme Heavy Extreme Heavy Moderate


QUICK TAKE:
Drama: Memories of a past love affair and denying his true identity resurface when an older college professor has an affair with a troubled divorcee who's half his age.
PLOT:
Coleman Silk (ANTHONY HOPKINS) is a well-respected professor who's taught at Massachusetts' Athena College for thirty-some years. Thus, he's shocked when his usage of the apparition-based term "spooks" is taken to be a racist remark. The insult digs even deeper, however, when the stress from that causes his wife to die suddenly from an embolism.

Six months later, Coleman approaches Nathan Zuckerman (GARY SINISE) hoping that the reclusive author will write his story. Nathan turns down the offer, but the two become fast friends and soon are discussing Coleman's affair with Faunia Farely (NICOLE KIDMAN), a troubled divorcee half his age. Realizing it could be the last love affair of his life, Coleman enters into it with full passion, despite the inherent dangers posed by Faunia's ex-husband and troubled Vietnam veteran, Lester (ED HARRIS).

At the same time, Coleman's affair with Faunia rekindles memories of himself (WENTWORTH MILLER) in the 1940s and his great love affair with Steena Paulsson (JACINDA BARRETT). It also makes him face a staggering decision he made back then that greatly upset his mother, Dorothy (ANNA DEAVERE SMITH), and the rest of his family.

As those memories overwhelm him and stir up long-repressed emotions, Coleman must come to terms with who he really is, all while continuing with his affair with Faunia and dealing with the increasingly volatile Lester.

WILL KIDS WANT TO SEE IT?
Unless they're fans of someone in the cast, it would seem that only older teens might be interested in it.
WHY THE MPAA RATED IT: R
For language and sexuality/nudity.
CAST AS ROLE MODELS:
  • ANTHONY HOPKINS plays an older college professor whose affair with Faunia (a woman half his age) and allegations of racism rekindle memories of a previous love affair and the concealment of his true identity. He has sex with Faunia and uses some strong profanity while trying to come to terms with his past.
  • NICOLE KIDMAN plays a troubled divorcee who works many jobs, has an affair with Coleman, uses strong profanity, smokes, and must deal with the guilt over her children's deaths and her menacing ex-husband.
  • ED HARRIS plays her troubled ex-husband, a Vietnam veteran who's never forgiven her for their children's deaths and isn't happy she's seeing Coleman. He uses strong profanity and smokes.
  • GARY SINISE plays a reclusive novelist who befriends Coleman and briefly uses some profanity.
  • WENTWORTH MILLER plays the young Coleman who has sex with Steena and problems accepting who and what he is.
  • JACINDA BARRETT plays his young lover who similarly has the same problems regarding him.
  • ANNA DEAVERE SMITH plays Coleman's mother who's concerned about him trying to hide his true self.
  • CAST, CREW, & TECHNICAL INFO

    HOW OTHERS RATED THIS MOVIE


    Curious if this title is entertaining, any good, and/or has any artistic merit?
    Then read OUR TAKE of this film.


    (Note: The "Our Take" review of this title examines the film's artistic merits and does not take into account any of the possibly objectionable material listed below).


    OUR WORD TO PARENTS:
    The following is a brief summary of the content found in this R-rated drama. Profanity consists of at least 40 "f" words, while other expletives and colorful phrases are used. Sexually explicit dialogue is present as is a sex scene (with movement, sounds and partial nudity), while other sex is heavily implied. Various scenes feature nudity (some partial of both sexes as well as brief female full frontal) and women in scanty attire.

    Various characters have bad attitudes, while a great deal of tense family material and related thematic elements are present (including divorce, death of one's spouse, another's parent and other's children, talk of familial molestation and spousal abuse, and accepting one's race, etc.).

    Some boxing violence (and a little bit of blood) is present, a guy tries to hit a cop and a car swerves off a road, resulting in two off-screen deaths. Various characters smoke, one is noted as being out of rehab and a few beers are seen.

    Should you still be concerned about the film's appropriateness for yourself or anyone else in your home, you may want to look more closely at our detailed listings for more specific information regarding the film's content.


    ALCOHOL OR DRUG USE
  • We see beers on the table next to Coleman and Nathan.
  • We see beer by Coleman and Nathan.
  • We hear that Lester was in rehab.
  • BLOOD/GORE
  • Young Coleman pummels an opponent in a boxing match and we see some blood on a face.
  • DISRESPECTFUL/BAD ATTITUDE
  • Not knowing that two absent students that he's never seen are black, Coleman refers to them as "spooks" (in a ghost and not racist sense). Others, however, take offense at that and label him a racist.
  • We hear that a relative of Faunia's sexually molested her when she was a teen.
  • Lester purposefully runs Coleman's truck off the road, is chronically angry at and menacing toward him and Faunia (he comments on Faunia and says that he should have killed her in the past). He also uses the term "gooks" to refer to the Vietnamese and "Old Jew" when referring to Coleman, and tries to punch a police officer.
  • In 1944, a white man calls an adult black waiter "boy."
  • After discovering that her boyfriend (and his mother) are actually black (rather than white, as the boyfriend appears), a young woman tells him that she can't "do this" (continue in the relationship) despite loving him (this occurs in the past).
  • FRIGHTENING SCENES
  • A truck runs Coleman's car (containing him and Faunia) off the road, sending it upside down onto a frozen lake. This is seen again later in the film.
  • Lester sits outside Faunia's place and menacingly revs his truck's loud engine. That leads to a brief confrontation between him, Coleman and the police.
  • GUNS/WEAPONS
  • None.
  • IMITATIVE BEHAVIOR
  • Phrases: "He's out of his f*cking mind," "Turn off the f*cking lights," "What the f*ck are you doing?" "He's f*cking crazy," "You murdering f*cking c*nt," "F*ck 'em," "F*ck you too," "Don't f*ck it up," "I don't give a f*ck," "This is a big f*cking deal," "Bullsh*t," "Oh sh*t," "Half-ass," "Whore," "Bitch," "How the hell should I know?" "I don't give a damn," "Sure as hell" and "Nigger" (said by a light-skinned black man).
  • Faunia has tattoos.
  • JUMP SCENES
  • None.
  • MUSIC (SCARY/TENSE)
  • A tiny bit of ominous music plays in the film.
  • MUSIC (INAPPROPRIATE)
  • None.
  • PROFANITY
  • At least 40 "f" words (1 used with "mother" and 9 used sexually as are the terms "banging" and "gang bang"), 6 "s" words, 1 slang term each using male and female genitals ("c*cks*cker" and "c*nt"), 2 damns, 2 hells, 1 ass, 1 S.O.B., 2 uses of "For Christ's sakes" and 1 use each of "For God's sakes," "Jesus Christ" and "Swear to God."
  • SEX/NUDITY
  • A college student talks about the President (Clinton) "banging" a 22-year-old intern. Someone says something about, "That's a gang bang" and another says, "If he just f*cked her..." They then joke about that's why he didn't want to "cum," they comment on "smoking cum" and add, "When he came, he was done."
  • Coleman teaches a class and comments about the delights of sexual rapacity.
  • Young Coleman kisses Steena's neck and lips in a sensual fashion. The two then do some passionate, clothed kissing. We then see them in bed, with her on top in a front to back position. Both are clearly nude, but all we see - from an explicit sense-- are the sides of their bare butts (implying they previously had sex).
  • Coleman tells Nathan that he's having an affair with a 34-year-old woman. He then comments on using Viagra and that without it he would be continuing in his declining years and wouldn't be doing something that makes no sense at all.
  • After Coleman gives Faunia (who shows some cleavage) a lift to a dairy farm where she works (due to her car being broken down), she invites him in. He initially declines, but then goes inside. There, he finds Faunia lying sideways and nude on a bed (we see a full body shot of her and part of her bare breasts, but shadows partially obscure the rest of her). We then see the two in bed after sex (a head and shoulders shot) when she tells him that he must leave (but that it's nothing personal).
  • We see Coleman under a bed's sheets, implying more sex with Faunia.
  • Coleman starts to ask Faunia, "What's it like making love..." and she corrects him by saying, "F*cking" and he then amends his question to "F*cking an old man?" She replies that it's perfect as there are no surprises.
  • We hear that Faunia's parents divorced when she was growing up and that a male relative couldn't keep his hands off her. She then goes on that the next thing she knew (in one such instance) was that his fingers were inside her. She then adds that he tried to "f*ck me" and that she then ran away from home (while a teenager).
  • Coleman and Faunia have sex with her on top. There's some movement and related sounds, his hand is on her chest (but we don't see her breasts) and he then has his fingers around her mouth. They're interrupted, but we do then see the side of her bare breast in silhouette.
  • Lester states that Faunia is now "f*cking this old Jew" (Coleman).
  • The "f" word is used sexually several times.
  • Faunia is mad at Coleman and says, "You can't handle f*cking someone you can't take to a fancy restaurant."
  • Lester wonders whether Faunia told Coleman that she was giving a "blow job" to some guy while their kids were dying. He then adds, "That's my wife you're f*cking in there."
  • Coleman's lawyer asks him (about having sex with Faunia), "Did you use a condom?" A comment is made that Coleman is Achilles on Viagra and the question is posed about how much sense that makes.
  • Faunia states that sex and the betrayal are the same for her.
  • Nathan questions Coleman about getting a woman pregnant and her having an abortion.
  • Nathan comments to Coleman (about the woman in his life), "This really is about great sex."
  • Coleman asks Faunia to dance for him while he watches. He says, "This is more than sex" and she replies that it isn't, as he's just forgotten what sex is. We then see her in her tank-top and panties. She lifts her top in a seductive fashion and we see her bare back as well as a brief and partial glimpse of her bare breasts.
  • In the past, Coleman asks Steena to dance for him as he watches. She removes her skirt and shirt, revealing her full slip. She then removes that to reveal her bra and period-style underwear, all of which she removes, resulting in a full frontal nude view of her. She and Coleman (who's still dressed) then passionately kiss.
  • We see a head and shoulders shot of Coleman and Faunia "spooning" in bed.
  • SMOKING
  • Faunia smokes more than 5 times, Lester and Steena each smoke several times and Coleman smokes a cigar one time.
  • TENSE FAMILY SCENES
  • Coleman's wife dies in his arms (we later hear from a sudden embolism brought on by stress).
  • We hear that Nathan is twice divorced.
  • We hear that Faunia's parents divorced when she was growing up and that a male relative couldn't keep his hands off her. She then goes on that the next thing she knew (in one such instance) was that his fingers were inside her. She then adds that he tried to "f*ck me" and that she then ran away from home (while a teenager).
  • We hear that Faunia is divorced, that Lester used to beat her up, and that they lost their kids in a tragedy (for which Lester blames her).
  • Faunia shows Coleman an urn and says that's all that's left of her two kids. She then wonders whether she should keep the ashes or bury them and then breaks down from that.
  • Young Coleman isn't happy that his father tells him that he can no longer box.
  • In the past, we see Coleman's father collapse at work and then see his funeral.
  • Faunia says that she called her mom after her kids tragically died and her mom said she didn't know anyone by that name.
  • We see an older sister at her adult brother's funeral.
  • Young Coleman's mother is upset when he (as a young adult) states that he wants to disown his past, family and everything to do with his identity. Later, his adult brother tells him never to see their mother again.
  • Lester talks about his dead son.
  • TOPICS TO TALK ABOUT
  • Racism.
  • Why Coleman didn't just explain his past to quell the racism charges leveled against him.
  • Light-skinned African-Americans who posed as whites in the past.
  • Familial losses and guilt.
  • The Clinton-Lewinsky scandal.
  • Living a lie.
  • We see what appear to be suicide attempt scars on Faunia's wrist.
  • Familial molestation.
  • Troubled Vietnam vets and post-traumatic distress disorder.
  • The comment (made in the 1940s) "If you're colored, it doesn't matter how much you know" (said by a black character).
  • Nathan questions Coleman about getting a woman pregnant and her having an abortion.
  • A character comments that people are just getting dumber but more opinionated.
  • VIOLENCE
  • A truck causes Coleman's car (containing him and Faunia) to swerve off the road, sending it upside down onto a frozen lake (this is later seen again, listed below).
  • Lester tries to punch a cop who's arrived on the scene, and is then restrained by him and another cop.
  • We see some boxing violence in a flashback.
  • Coleman strikes something in anger.
  • Young Coleman pummels an opponent in a boxing match and we see some blood on a face.
  • Faunia throws something in anger.
  • We hear that two people were killed in a car accident caused by someone else (we see the car being forced to swerve off the road and then the resultant wreckage, but no actual deaths or bodies).



  • Reviewed October 15, 2003 / Posted October 31, 2003

    Other new and recent reviews include:

    [Collateral Beauty] [La La Land] [Manchester By The Sea] [Rogue One: A Star Wars Story]

    Privacy Statement and Terms of Use and Disclaimer
    By entering this site you acknowledge to having read and agreed to the above conditions.

    All Rights Reserved,
    ©1996-2017 Screen It, Inc.