Absence Of Malice

1981

Absence Of Malice

Critics Consensus

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80%

TOMATOMETER

Total Count: 25

63%

Audience Score

User Ratings: 4,579
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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 Brimley and Melinda Dillon also star. ~ Matthew Tobey, Rovi

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Critic Reviews for Absence Of Malice

All Critics (25) | Top Critics (7) | Fresh (20) | Rotten (5)

  • Absence Of Malice is a well-acted, smoothly paced melodrama that suffers from an illogical premise.

    Oct 22, 2018 | Full Review…
  • 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.

    Oct 1, 2008 | Full Review…
  • A splendidly disturbing look at the power of sloppy reporting to inflict harm on the innocent.

    May 26, 2008 | Full Review…

    Variety Staff

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

    Jun 24, 2006 | Full Review…
    Time Out
    Top 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.

    Oct 23, 2004 | Rating: 3/4 | Full Review…
  • What Mr. Pollack's movies lack in momentum, they make up for in quiet gravity.

    May 20, 2003 | Rating: 4/5

Audience Reviews for Absence Of Malice

  • Mar 07, 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.
    Conner R Super Reviewer
  • Sep 06, 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.
    Aj V Super Reviewer
  • Apr 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.
    Chris G Super Reviewer
  • Mar 23, 2009
    2 supreme lead actor heavyweights turn in an excellent performance.
    Teresa S Super Reviewer

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