Movies: Loving While Living A Lie

A stern old teacher faces a life's worth of deceptions in Robert Benton's haunting film The Human Stain

Stately, imperious Professor Coleman Silk (Anthony Hopkins) mesmerizes and scares his students with caustic oratorical wit. Wondering aloud why two students have been absent from his class, he asks sarcastically, "Are they spooks?" He means ghosts. But the students are African American, the faculty is spineless and Coleman is soon reprimanded for uttering, however guilelessly, a racial slur. This comes as a shock to Silk, who identifies himself as the son of a Jewish saloonkeeper. Funny, you may think, Anthony Hopkins doesn't look Jewish.

Stop reading immediately if you do not know Philip Roth's 2000 novel or have not been...

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