Staining in Black and White
Human Stain
Review by Ross Anthony

Anthony Hopkins is magnificent, unfortunately the golden words that fill his mouth early on, run less freely as the film progresses. And with the exception of Ed Harris', no other performances stand out.

As a whole the film feels disjointed, un-unified. Beginning with a car accident that occurs at the chronologically at 3/4 mark. This writing technique is far too often utilized and too seldom with much effect.

That said, the cinematography is pretty good, but even better is the interesting points the film makes about racism and political correctness. These main ideas and story lines -- are intriguing and important, but save for the outset, I found their realization less and less engaging on an emotive level. Actually, the film begins at an A level then gradually loses its grip on the audience.

Says Philip Roth of the title: "It speaks to that which is imperfect in us as humans. The Catholics call it original sin, I suppose. It is simply that which creates the human mess." Director Robert Benton adds, "To me, the human stain is the mark we leave on everything. It speaks to the fact that we can't get through life without marking the world around us in some way. We have no choice. It's part of being human."

  • Human Stain. Copyright © 2003. Rated R.
  • Starring Anthony Hopkins, Nicole Kidman, Ed Harris, Gary Sinise, Wentworth Miller, Jacinda Barrett.
  • Directed by Robert Benton.
  • Screenplay by Nicholas Meyer.
  • Based on the novel by Philip Roth.
  • Produced by Gary Lucchesi Scott Steindorff Miramax/Lakeshore/Stone Village/Cinerenta-Cineepsion.

Grade..........................B (2/4)

Copyright © 2001. Ross Anthony, currently based in Los Angeles, has scripted and shot documentaries, music videos, and shorts in 35 countries across North America, Europe, Africa and Asia. For more reviews visit:

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Last Modified: Saturday, 16-Sep-2006 08:09:12 PDT