Monday, December 15, 2014

The Human Stain = A Hint: Shun Mate [The Human Stain (2003)]

Note:  This review was originally posted to my Epinions account.

Life is full of difficult decisions. It's also full of foolish mistakes that you wish you could undo.

Anthony Hopkins plays Coleman Silk. He's got a great position at a college that he is said to have taken from being mediocre to being great. One day, he's teaching class. He calls on two students who happen to not be present that day. It's the fifth week of class and Silk can't recall having ever seen them. He asks if any of the students have seen these two mystery people or if they're simply "spooks." He uses the word to mean ghost, but both of the students (both of which are African-American) take great offense at the word, which also has a derogatory use. Despite the fact that Silk couldn't have possibly known what the two students looked like, a hearing is formed. Silk resigns in protest. When he tells his wife what happened, she can't handle the stress; she dies of an aneurysm several hours later. Thus, the story is set in motion.

Silk contacts a reclusive writer, Nathan Zuckerman, who is played by Gary Sinise. Zuckerman encourages Silk to write his own story, but Silk can't get the words right. In the meantime, the two men form a friendship. Silk also meets Faunia Farley at the Post Office where she works. (She also milks cows to pay for rent and has another job at the college where Silk worked.) The two end up sleeping together, which isn't a good idea considering her psychotic and possessive ex-husband, played by Ed Harris.

It took me a while to get into the movie. It had gotten to the point where I was so invested in the movie that I simply watched the rest of it because I didn't have that much time left in the movie. It isn't until the end that you really begin to appreciate it.

It's a very complicated plot. The movie has a lot of flashbacks as Silk tells his story to Zuckerman, but it's not hard to keep track of. The timeline is either pretty evident or becomes evident quickly. You do have to pay attention to the movie. You really can't watch it while doing something else.

There's also a very depressing aspect to it. Silk had a lot of decisions to make and a lot of his choices brought him enemies. "Spook" may have been a poor choice of words, but no one stuck up for him. When it came down to it, he was on his own and a lot of Silk's isolation had to with the decisions he made.

If you think that I've given away too many details, then you haven't seen the movie. There are still a few surprises left for you. Do not take your children to see this movie. There's sex, derogatory terms, violence and all sorts of adult themes. Children couldn't possible understand much of the movie. It's also not for everyone. This isn't a feel-good movie. It's a movie that's going to make you look at certain things and really think about them. 

Official Site (Mirimax)

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