The Human Stain 2003 film review | Book Addicts

Human Stain (film)

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Human Stain is a 2003 film starring Anthony Hopkins and Nicole Kidman.

6 out of 10 stars.  This is a hard film to watch.  It’s tragedy unfolding before your very eyes.

Coleman Silk is a 50s-ish white Literature professor in an upscale east coast college.  He has two African American students who regularly don’t show up for class and he eventually fails them.  They both file a discrimination lawsuit against Coleman and against the college.  The day the college interrogates him about these ridiculous charges, his wife has a heart attack and dies.  He never forgives the college for that and quits.  Ironically enough, it’s a female black professor who is behind the entire incident.  She wants him out and to take his place as head of the department.

Coleman moves to a cabin and befriends a writer named Nathan Zuckerman who lives in the next cabin.  Over time they become close friends and Coleman writes a book about how the college killed his wife.  The college targeted him because he was Jewish, not realizing he was also black.  This was particularly heartbreaking because before Coleman came there, they were a no name college.  He brought them fame and made them a prominent college.

Eighteen months after his wife’s death, Coleman falls for a 34 year old postal employee named Faunia Farley who lives on a lesbian couple’s dairy farm.  She has three part-time jobs to make ends meet and he’s always there to give her a ride.  At first she is reluctant to start a relationship with Coleman and he assumes it’s because of his age.  It’s not.  It’s because she has a psychotic ex-husband named Les who beats her and keeps stalking her.  She’s afraid he’ll kill Coleman and she’s right to be.

Parts of the movie are about Coleman’s childhood, watching the way his father was treated as a waiter on a train food car and conversations with his mother who said he was lucky to be born with light skin.  Eventually it shows him in college dating a white girl and shunning his black friends.  So in a way, he kind of deserved what he got.

The film ends with Les slamming into Coleman’s car with his pickup and knocking him into a river.  Coleman dies.  And Les is back to stalking his ex-wife Faunia.

6 out of 10 stars.  It’s a shame there’s still racism today, but a lot of that racism is from black people hating whites.  This showcases that in an interesting way.  The black female professor sends Coleman some of the most vile letters.  She hates white people and wants him to know it.


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