Philip Roth’s best prose teases and torments and willfully kicks life into characters. His novel, which this movie claims to represent, is about a disgraced New England classics professor — Coleman Silk — who must face his unlikely black roots. Since Silk thinks he’s a white Jew, it’s a long day’s journey into prose. The film ultimately frames the action into its sexiest side, the affair that pushes Silk (Anthony Hopkins) into a desperate liaison with his needy cleaning lady Faunia Farley (Nicole Kidman) — sorry, but a cleaning lady Ms. Kidman ain’t. Nathan Zuckerman (Gary Sinese), who discovers Silk’s secret, fills in the gaps when the movie can’t. Though Hopkins and Kidman are sincerely involved and Robert Benton’s direction is (what else to say?) noble, the movie is gorgeously forgettable.