The Human Stain — Film

In my film and lit. class, we watched adaptation of the novel The Human Stain (Philip Roth). If you’d like a recap of the story, you can look at my review from last week. It stars Anthony Hopkins as the ‘current’ Coleman Silk, Wentworth Miller as ‘young’ Coleman, Nicole Kidman as Faunia Farley, Gary Sinise as Nathan Zuckerman, and Ed Harris as Les Farley. If you’d really like to know the rest of the characters, check out the IMDb page.

The Human Stain Poster

Although the movie was much shorter than expected, as Roth is a long-winded writer, it still wasn’t easy to watch. And even though I thought I did not need all the narratives in the book, seeing the movie without the majority of them felt rather empty. It made me appreciate the book a lot more. I don’t know that I would have understood all the important nuances of the film without having read the book (so if someone does that, I’d love to discuss it with them!).

I feel the film cut out a lot of the secrecy, which was my favorite part about the book… Faunia never said that she was illiterate, and she never got to explain why she was fascinated with crows. I don’t think Nicole Kidman did her character justice — which, I admit, is partially just the lines given to her, but she still could have been more Faunia-esque.

I enjoyed Lester Farley’s narrative in the book, but I’m glad they downplayed it in the movie. And then added in scenes where he talked with a counselor… Weird, but those were probably some of my favorite scenes in the movie.

There were parts to the film that played out well.  However, I have to stick with the idea that the book is always better, even in the case of a book I did not love. I was really surprised that the story attracted so many recognizable actors, it doesn’t seem like a huge hit at the theater. Anyway… I’m much more looking forward to reading the next book for class, The Constant Gardener.


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