Image copyright © by Marcus Trahan

The Human Stain


Two students have never shown up for the class taught by a respected college professor, Anthony Hopkins, who idly wonders aloud, “What are they? Spooks?” The missing students are black, which the prof didn’t know, and they take offense. He is brought up before a committee, and resigns in a rage. His wife dies that very day from an embolism brought on by the stress. But he has a secret, which I won’t reveal. He begins an affair with a woman, Nicole Kidman, half his age. She was molested by her stepfather, her children died in a fire that might have been her fault, and she has a psycho wife-beating ex … it all begins to seem too much. It all begins to detract from the central problem of this story, which I can’t really discuss. Kidman whispers too much. The story wanders around, is never really resolved. The central conundrum of the story really is an awful situation, and it should have been a lot more poignant than it is.