The above rating is an average of the critic reviews below.
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James Berardinelli, Internet Critic
Above Average "Undemanding viewers will probably find enough intriguing material here to make it worth a look, but I was too disappointed by the wasted potential to be enthusiastic. When the film works, it does so admirably, but the screenplay and structure are too uneven to sustain any sort of momentum. The fault may lie in the complexity of the source material, but a movie should not be greenlighted until the script is perfected. What has reached the screen represents a disappointing early entry into the 2003 Oscar race.''
Roger Ebert Full
Very Good "The Human Stain has been directed by Robert Benton with a sure feel for the human values involved. Yes, we have to suspend disbelief over the casting, but that's easier since we can believe the stories of these people. Not many movies probe into matters of identity or adaptation. 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.''
USA TODAY Full
Below Average "How does one even begin to list the imperfections of
The Human Stain? One can start with the sluggish direction, the misguided casting, the tedious screenplay and the self-important story. 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.''
TV Guide Online Full
Below Average "While director Robert Benton refrains from milking the big, CRYING GAME-sized twist at the center of this weak abbreviation of Philip Roth's expansive 2000 novel, keeping the story's secret makes discussing the film's real subject — and the movie's shortcomings — difficult. ...there's so much less to the film than the novel: Nicholas Meyer's screenplay fails to capture the intricate subtleties of its subject and replaces Roth's moral scope with a moralizing tone.''
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