Sunday, October 15, 2006

A Really Touching Film

I don't watch a lot of movies on television (who has time?) but my wife is miserably sick with some sort of upper respiratory infection at the moment, and we were curled up in front of the idiot box when The Human Stain came on one of the cable channels. We missed the first few minutes of it, but from reading reviews of the movie when it came out, I was able to piece together what happened.

I'm not going to tell you what the secrets are that are revealed--but I will tell you that it is a film about tragedies and secrets, and how the sins of one person and one time perpetuate into the future. Anthony Hopkins plays a college professor at the end of his career and life; Wentworth Miller plays him as a young man, hiding what was, in 1944, a terrible secret--today, it would be something to celebrate, not to hide. Nicole Kidman plays his girl friend, with an even more terrible secret from her past, and an ongoing disaster (played by Ed Harris). To give some idea of the skill of the actors involved, Gary Sinise delivers, as usual, an excellent performance--and it pales in comparision to Hopkins, Miller, Kidman, and Harris.

Anyone that can watch this movie and not be powerfully moved is has a heart of stone. Perhaps it because I have known too many people who've been through some of these tragedies.

It was edited for cable, so some of the stronger language was skillfully redubbed with euphemisms, and there might be a bit more of Nicole Kidman revealed in the theatrical release than we saw. This is definitely an adult film, meaning that much of what we learn about these tragedies is not suited to pre-teens, and perhaps some early teenagers. (They are likely to be bored by it anyway.)

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