Along a winding winter road, a vehicle goes out of control and plunges into an icy lake. The driver and passenger, an old man named Coleman Silk (Anthony Hopkins) and a young woman named Faunia (Nicole Kidman), share a sudden death. They had also shared a shocking secret. She tried to escape her past, while drifting from man to man, and Coleman eluded his past by cutting himself off from his family. The movie flashes back to when the two first meet: her car is broken down, and he offers her a ride. She immediately initiates a sexual relationship, which he happily accepts. People wonder why a respected professor would be involved with an unscrupulous woman, young enough to be his granddaughter. Meanwhile, Faunia’s homicidal ex-husband (Ed Harris) stalks and taunts this odd couple. Coleman’s friend, Nathan Zuckerman (Gary Sinise), solves the mystery when he meets Coleman’s sister.
The Human Stain offers viewers a dark world, filled with tragedy, injustice and horrible racism. It captures the reality that many people who are making mistakes want sympathy, not the truth, from their friends. The abundant filthy language is reason enough to avoid this film. It also contains sexual affairs, brief full female nudity and violence. The title fits; viewing this movie will make you feel dirty.