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Absence Of Malice (2003)

tomatometer

67

Average Rating: 5.9/10
Critic Reviews: 6
Fresh: 4 | Rotten: 2

No consensus yet.

audience

61

liked it
Average Rating: 3.3/5
User Ratings: 4,414

My Rating

Movie Info

In this legal drama from director Sydney Pollack, Sally Field stars as Megan, an ambitious newpaper reporter who, based on information from FBI investigator Rosen, played by Bob Balaban, writes a scathing article that implicates Gallagher, a reclusive business-owner played by Paul Newman, in the recent disappearance of a labor leader. When Gallagher confronts Megan and sets her straight, the two team together to prove his innocence and have a few romantic interludes along the way. Wilford

PG,

Drama, Romance, Mystery & Suspense

Kurt Luedtke

Mar 31, 1998

Sony Pictures Home Entertainment

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All Critics (23) | Top Critics (6) | Fresh (19) | Rotten (3) | DVD (1)

Absence of Malice does not invalidate All the President's Men. But with entertainment values -- and a moral sense -- every bit as high as that film's, it observes that there is an underside to journalistic gallantry.

October 1, 2008 Full Review Source: TIME Magazine
TIME Magazine
Top Critic IconTop Critic

A splendidly disturbing look at the power of sloppy reporting to inflict harm on the innocent.

May 26, 2008 Full Review Source: Variety
Variety
Top Critic IconTop Critic

Impeccably liberal in its orientation to 'issues,' his avoids the excesses of Stanley Kramer-like telegraphy, only to come up looking aesthetically wet.

June 24, 2006 Full Review Source: Time Out
Time Out
Top Critic IconTop Critic

I not only liked this movie despite its factual and ethical problems -- I'm not even so sure they matter so much to most viewers.

October 23, 2004 Full Review Source: Chicago Sun-Times
Chicago Sun-Times
Top Critic IconTop Critic

What Mr. Pollack's movies lack in momentum, they make up for in quiet gravity.

May 20, 2003 Full Review Source: New York Times
New York Times
Top Critic IconTop Critic

The picture has a smug, demoralizing sense of pervasive corruption.

January 1, 2000 Full Review Source: Chicago Reader | Comment (1)
Chicago Reader
Top Critic IconTop Critic

A solid, absorbing drama.

May 26, 2008 Full Review Source: TV Guide's Movie Guide
TV Guide's Movie Guide

Well-meaning liberal message story.

February 28, 2007 Full Review Source: Ozus' World Movie Reviews
Ozus' World Movie Reviews

Despite good intentions, this uneven drama might disturb women as the journalist played by Sally Field is not only irresponsible but also not very bright; Paul Newman compensates with a strong turn.

February 3, 2006 Full Review Source: EmanuelLevy.Com
EmanuelLevy.Com

gripping little thriller

August 26, 2005
Shadows on the Wall

Além de errar ao não condenar os absurdos cometidos pela repórter vivida por Field, o filme inclui um romance forçado e implausível. Definitivamente, não envelheceu bem.

May 16, 2004
Cinema em Cena

Superbly observed.

May 24, 2003 Full Review Source: Film4
Film4

The ultimate conclusion of the film will leave you thoughtful and even perhaps a touch sad -- rare for any film, and even more rare for a thriller.

November 7, 2002 Full Review Source: Netflix
Netflix

Sally Field and Paul Newman deliver some great work in this look at journalistic warfare.

July 26, 2002
eFilmCritic.com

Another bash the media film, but 15 years before its time.

June 18, 2002 Full Review Source: Filmcritic.com
Filmcritic.com

Audience Reviews for Absence Of Malice

Understandably, this is considered one of the greatest movies about journalism. I think it is mostly due to the fact that it takes an even position on both sides of the story. On the one hand you have Sally Field as Maggie just trying to get recognized with a hot story, but then you also have Paul Newman's Gallagher falling victim to suspicion of criminal acts. Sydney Pollack makes a case for both sides and ultimately decides that they both have reasoning for what they do. When Paul Newman eventually sets his mastermind scheme into effect, we see who the true victims are. It's really interesting to see what goes into a news story, but also see that they aren't just made up words, they're real people and real events.
March 7, 2011
ythelastman89

Super Reviewer

A great journalism drama/thriller with great actors, it's even pretty exciting for the most part. If you like movies about journalism, I highly recommend it.
January 10, 2011
ajv2688

Super Reviewer

Absence of Malice is another one of those early '80's news/courtroom dramas where people have to face what's legal and what's moral. The film stars Paul Newman as Michael Colin Gallagher, a liquor warehouse owner in Miami whose father was a player in the syndicate. Gallagher is clean, but a federal prosecutor (Bob Balaban) use him as a way to gain leverage in the case of a missing union boss. A story is "leaked" to reporter Megan Carter (Sally Field) who ends up writing the story and starting the snowball effect of events that soon goes out of control.

To be perfectly honest, the only reason to watch this film is for Paul Newman. Newman once again electrifies the screen. The rest of the cast is blah. The story, which starts out interesting, soon turns into a ridiculous cat and mouse game that is far from believable. You could compare this film to All the President's Men or ...And Justice for All but they aren't really in the same league. The only other redeeming part of the film is Wilford Brimley's cameo near the end of the film. He makes a rather dull ending a little more exciting. Other than that the film is a dull exercise in how to suckle onto a popular genre.
April 28, 2009
sononothing

Super Reviewer

Despite the star-studded cast, this is neither an interesting or well-made movie. Sydney Pollack (RIP) and Paul Newman (RIP! =(), you can't win every time.
October 2, 2008
jennifxu

Super Reviewer

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Foreign Titles

  • Absence of Malice (1981) (DE)
  • Absence of Malice (1981) (UK)
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