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Based on 39 Reviews
critic reviews (10)
fan reviews ( 0 )
  • 75
    Peter Travers Rolling Stone

    The Human Stain is heavy going. It's the flashes of dramatic lightning that make it a trip worth taking. show more

  • 50
    Mick LaSalle San Francisco Chronicle

    Falls victim to a fatal lack of narrative drive, suspense and drama. Kidman and Hopkins are wrong for their roles, and that, combined with a pervading inevitability, cuts the film off from any sustained vitality. The result is something admirable but lifeless. show more

  • 38
    Claudia Puig USA Today

    It's problematic enough that the movie's lead characters are unlikable. But worse is the blackening of The Human Stain with a trite and forced plot, uninteresting digressions and clunky direction. show more

  • 40
    Joe Morgenstern Wall Street Journal

    The book presented several special, perhaps even insuperable, problems for adaptation to the screen, and the movie, which was directed by Robert Benton from a screenplay by Nicholas Meyer, hasn't solved them. show more

  • 75
    Carrie Rickey Philadelphia Inquirer

    The sequences with the melancholy Faunia are monochromatic and those with Lester perfunctory. Benton too neatly -- and too hastily -- wraps up a story that would surely exert more power if it were messy and unrushed. show more

  • 50
    Jami Bernard New York Daily News

    The mordant humor and far-reaching observations of the book don't come across in Robert Benton's "Masterpiece Theatre"-style direction. show more

  • 70
    The Hollywood Reporter

    The thriller aspects of the story and the overall solid level of acting -- including a sexy performance from a red-hot Nicole Kidman -- keep the audience interested but never fully emotionally involved. show more

  • 88
    Roger Ebert Chicago Sun-Times

    Most movie characters are like Greek gods and comic book heroes: We learn their roles and powers at the beginning of the story, and they never change. Here are complex, troubled, flawed people, brave enough to breathe deeply and take one more risk with their lives. show more

  • 88
    Michael Wilmington Chicago Tribune

    The Human Stain has those qualities we often want but rarely see in our films: intelligence and ambition, decency and humanity, poetry and pity, fire and ice. Watch it and weep. show more

  • 75
    Jonathan Foreman New York Post

    Though Human Stain is sometimes too chaotic and sometimes too neat, it boasts some of the best acting of the year. show more

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