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Absence Of Malice Reviews

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Conner R

Super Reviewer

March 7, 2011
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.
AJ V

Super Reviewer

September 6, 2010
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.
Chris G

Super Reviewer

April 28, 2009
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.
Jennifer X

Super Reviewer

June 7, 2007
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.
John B

Super Reviewer

June 17, 2007
Go off and see it! I think TBS or one of the other stations has been running it every hour for the last week. Sometimes I have been disappointed with Sydney Pollack but I loved this film...maybe Paul Newman saved it for me.
Chris B

Super Reviewer

August 7, 2011
Full Review Coming!
alanjayh
alanjayh

Super Reviewer

June 3, 2008
heavy courtroom drama with strong cast lead byPaul Newman...another message driven movie that will hold your interest
iLeo
iLeo

Super Reviewer

January 10, 2008
Brilliant movie! Paul Newman and Sally Field were outstanding in this.
August 29, 2012
"Absense of Malice" is a slow-moving vehicle for Sally Field to shine. I walked into this film with high expectations (as I do with any film with Paul Newman's name on it) and, while the pace drags the film down at times, it is redeemed through suspensful twists and profound statements about the power of the press. I was a bit confused by Newman's performance. There were times that he really took command of the screen (particularly when he assaulted Field), but most of the time he seemed very bland. Maybe it was just the character, but this wasn't his strongest showing. Field, on the other hand, gives one of her finer performances. This film makes me want to see more of her earlier films, as most of my exposure to her is in her older roles like "Mrs. Doubtfire" and "Forrest Gump." I don't know why, but her haircut is so cute that it really gives her that innocent image, even though she's being sneaky and gumptious! The shock value of the different circumstances surrounding Melinda Dillon's character moves the emotional side of the story forward, particularly her last involvement in the story that literally made my jaw drop (I'm trying so hard to avoid spoilers!) Overall, this film is a good story with two leading characters that you will care about and, in spite of its slow-moving pace, it is definitely worth a watch.
December 2, 2011
ABSENCE OF MALICE (1981) is a well acted, well directed and well written movie that holds up all these years later. This engrossing movie is all about demonstrating the need for integrity in journalism and thankfully that message, while not subtly made, is not delivered with such a heavy hand to take away from the enjoyment of the watch. Though one plot point in the middle is incredibly telegraphed, what happens afterwards pays off well. Paul Newman gives yet another great performance; The man's presence is unmatched and is the lynchpin of this film. Sally Field is in top form as the journalist. And it was fun to watch the opening credits sequence that shows how newspapers are created, like an episode of How It's Made. No need to rush to see this, but you will be satisfied when you do. Recommend.
AlaineB
April 2, 2011
Reporter Sally Field gets used for other people's self-interests. Paul Newman gets smeared in a paper and gets even. Good to watch if you're having an I-feel-like-a-victim day.
The80sExpert
September 20, 2008
A really good movie about journalism. I was a bit confused at times with all the laws and journalism jargon, though. But, the actors are good, the story is exciting, and it's a really interesting movie.
allefra25
January 10, 2010
I saw this some time ago and forgot to review it. What does that tell you? It wasn't memorable. It wasn't interesting. I'd dare to say it wasn't that good. And the music was AWFUL. The only reason to watch is to see the lovably neurotic Jew Elliott Rosen or Gould or whatever his name was. He was humorous. Too bad he was basically the catalyst for All The Evil happening.
saltersheppard
September 18, 2008
One of my favorite movies. Everyone doeas a great job. Fields and Newman are perfect. The story is awesome. The ending is not predictable.
footydad55
May 8, 2007
Worth four starts for one scene alone, in which Wilfred Brimley (best known as The Oatmeal Guy) comes in as special prosecuter and tells the assembled group Just How Things Are Gong To Be Done
May 4, 2007
A slow, studied film about the ethics of journalism, with solid performances by the leads - and, unfortunately, a rather pat storyline. Everything fits a little too easily, everyone forgives a little too quickly. Sally Field's character keeps making the same mistake, over and over, and barely gets called out on it. Still, the film doesn't deserve to have been completely forgotten in the way it has.
thebigalex
September 21, 2006
Brings up some very intriging points about journalism. Also, with Newman and Field plus with director Pollack you can't get much better!
July 20, 2006
Caught this on cable the other night. I don't believe that any real reporter would be as cavalier with the facts as Field's character was portrayed. Ultimately, not believable.
June 14, 2007
Paul newman how can it be bad? But this is better than most. Characters are very human
March 3, 2014
Don't expect any violence but a very good movie with a great plot, great acting and plenty of twists. Paul Newman gives a reserved but effective performance of a man wrongly accused of murder, not necessarily by the police, but by the press and one reporter in particular played ably by Sally Field. Of course, her reporting messes up Newman's (character's) life and Newman puts up a fight to get his life back. But the actor that steals the show is Wilford Brimley who comes to clean up the mess as the U.S. Attorney General.
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