Warning: spoilers ahead. Read at your own risk, or after you’ve seen the movie.
R for Language, sexuality, nudity
Very infrequently do I feel justified in commenting on the casting of a movie. But The Human Stain — which stars Anthony Hopkins as a light-skinned African-American and movie star Nicole Kidman as a lower-class, down-on-her-luck working girl — suffers from serious miscasting.
Hopkins and Kidman, both Academy Award winners, give outstanding performances. Two scenes in particular look like Oscar pitches, one with Faunia (Kidman) crying over her lost children while Coleman (Hopkins) tries to comfort her. Another scene has Hopkins dancing with Gary Sinise in an iconic moment of happiness. But both actors are just too hard to believe in their roles.
The Human Stain is not a bad opening-night movie for the 26th annual Denver International Film Festival. The star power of Hopkins and Kidman adds big-time, black-tie substance to the festival. And the racial issues raised by the nuanced script (by Nicholas Meyer, based on Phillip Roth’s novel) ought to provide for lots of interesting conversations at the Gala party.
But you can bet there will be better films, most of them made with lesser-known actors, at this year’s DIFF.