Lorenzo's Oil (1992) - Rotten Tomatoes

Lorenzo's Oil (1992)



Critic Consensus: No consensus yet.

Movie Info

Director George Miller's fact-based drama stars Nick Nolte and Susan Sarandon as Augusto and Michaela Odone, the parents of a boy (Zack O'Malley Greenburg) diagnosed with ALD (adrenolenkodystrophy), a rare degenerative disease with fatal results. Refusing to accept the death sentence the doctors have handed young Lorenzo, the Odones devote every ounce of their being to finding a breakthrough to battle the disease.more
Rating: PG-13
Genre: Drama
Written By: Nick Enright
In Theaters:
On DVD: Apr 6, 2004
MCA Universal Home Video


Nick Nolte
as Augusto Odone
Susan Sarandon
as Michaela Odone
Peter Ustinov
as Prof. Gus Nikolais
Kathleen Wilhoite
as Deirdre Murphy
Gerry Bamman
as Dr. Judalon
Margo Martindale
as Wendy Gimble
James Rebhorn
as Ellard Muscatine
Ann Hearn
as Loretta Muscatine
Mary Wakio
as Comorian Teacher
Don Suddaby
as Don Suddaby
Colin Ward
as Jack Gimble
Jennifer Dundas
as Nurse Nancy Jo
William Cameron
as Pellerman
Becky Ann Baker
as Pellerman's Secretar...
Mary Pat Gleason
as The Librarian
Ann Dowd
as Pediatrician
Peter Mackenzie
as Immunosuppression Do...
Paul Lazar
as Professor Duncan
Laura Linney
as Young Teacher
Helena Ruoti
as Judalon's Nurse
Luis Ruiz
as Judalon's Resident
Joyce Reehling
as Columnist
Barbara Poitier
as Nikolais Secretary
Michael O'Neill
as School Psycologist
Ann McDonough
as Dietician
Lianne Kressin
as Smiling Nurse
Nicolas Petrov
as World Bank Executive
Richard Cordery
as Suddaby's Senior Man...
Angus Barnett
as Suddaby's Junior Man...
Keiko McDonald
as Japanese Translator
Vladimir Padunov
as Russian Translator
David McFadden
as Father Killian
Carmen Piccini
as Cristina Odone
Aaron Jackson
as Francesco Odone
Noah Banks
as Lorenzo
Billy Amman
as Lorenzo
E.G. Daily
as Lorenzo
Sandy Gore
as Murphy Family
Rocco Sisto
as Murphy Family
April Merscher
as Murphy Family
Neri Kyle Tannenbaum
as Female Lab Voice
Nora Dunfee
as Murphy Family
Brad Einhorn
as Male Lab Voice
Amelia Campbell
as Murphy Family
Keith Reddin
as Murphy Family
Eliot Brinton
as Symposium Doctor
Ayub Ommaya
as Symposium Doctor
Ryonosuke Shiono
as Symposium Doctor
James Merrill
as Symposium Doctor
Marie Nugent-Head
as Symposium Doctor
Zahra Ilkanipour
as Symposium Doctor
Nancy Chesney
as Conference Parent
John Mowod
as Conference Parent
Berta Van Zuiden
as Conference Parent
Susan Chapek
as Conference Parent
Shirley Tannenbaum
as Conference Parent
Charles R. Altman
as Conference Parent
Anthony DiLeo Jr.
as Conference Parent
Nona Gerard
as Conference Parent
David Doepken
as Conference Parent
Kathryn Aronson
as Conference Parent
Lamont Arnold
as Conference Parent
Julie Marie Remele
as Conference Parent
Anthony di Leo Jr.
as Conference Parent
Annie Loeffler
as Conference Parent
Lisa Montgomery
as Conference Parent
Raina Clifford
as Special Child
Todd Bella
as Special Child
Rachel Jones
as Special Child
Matthew Pyeritz
as Special Child
Daniel W. D'Arcy
as Special Child
Justin Isfeld
as Special Child
Jeremy Beyer
as Special Child
Christine Merriman
as Special Child
Nicholas Wiese
as Special Child
Tia Delaney
as Special Child
Lamar Olivis
as Special Child
Ryan Thomas
as Special Child
Connie Cranden
as Special Child
C. Alex Roberts
as Special Child
Mack Hegyes
as Special Child
Eric Kunkle
as Special Child
Show More Cast

News & Interviews for Lorenzo's Oil

Critic Reviews for Lorenzo's Oil

All Critics (32) | Top Critics (9)

If any movie of recent years deserves to be called "inspirational"--a much-abused term that one hesitates to revive apart from exceptional circumstances--this one certainly does.

Full Review… | October 7, 2012
Chicago Reader
Top Critic

Sarandon ... convincingly conveys a fierceness and tenacity that is almost frightening. The character never lets up, and neither does the film.

Full Review… | March 26, 2009
Top Critic

The film comes over as a tour de force version of the disease-of-the-week TV movie: half scientific detective story, half domestic drama, replete with scenes of suffering.

Full Review… | February 9, 2006
Time Out
Top Critic

This film has an appealingly brisk, unsentimental style and a rare ability to compress and convey detailed medical data.

Full Review… | May 20, 2003
New York Times
Top Critic

It takes a heartbreaking story and pushes it to the limit, showing us the lengths of courage and imagination that people can summon when they must.

Full Review… | January 1, 2000
Chicago Sun-Times
Top Critic

Don't go to it for a Hollywood happy ending. Go to it to learn what it can take to be alive.

Full Review… | January 1, 2000
Washington Post
Top Critic

Audience Reviews for Lorenzo's Oil


There's nothing more horrible than watching an innocent young child suffer in agony. In this heart-gripping drama, we follow two desperate parents (Nick Nolte and Susan Sarandon) as they struggle to find a cure for their son, who has fallen victim to a rare disease known as ALD. Fine performances by everyone in the cast, and in particular by Zack O'Malley, who does some of the best acting I've ever seen by someone of his age. You're truly enveloped by the pain that he goes through, which often makes it an uncomfortable watch. Seldom have I felt so engaged as to the outcome of a character's fate. And I can imagine it must be even more compelling to those who are parents themselves. A powerful story altogether, that despite some tendencies to drag, will leave you affected in one way or another.

Mike S

Super Reviewer


A great true story, but it's so boring as a film. I had to watch this in a class I had once, and I just couldn't get into it, it was dull. I'd only recommend this to real die hard drama fans who love real life stories played realistically. Overall, it's pretty good, but could have been more exciting.

Aj V

Super Reviewer

Emotionally harrowing film of a dedicated and persistent couple's struggle to find help for their son when he falls victim to a terminal illness. Intensely real performance by Susan Sarandon and a strong one from Nick Nolte although his accent while accurate for the character makes it difficult to understand him occasionally. Beautifully true supporting performances but it is hard to watch what Lorenzo has to go through. A shattering experience at times but worthwhile.

jay nixon

Super Reviewer

Lorenzo's Oil Quotes

– Submitted by Jesse K (2 years ago)

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