Lorenzo's Oil

1992, Drama, 2h 15m

38 Reviews 10,000+ Ratings

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critics consensus

A harrowing tribute to the heroism of parental love, Lorenzo's Oil is kept from abject misery by George Miller's sensitive direction and outstanding performances from Nick Nolte and Susan Sarandon. Read critic reviews

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Movie Info

True-life drama of a father and mother who battled against the odds to save their son's life. Augusto and Michaela Odone are dealt a cruel blow by fate: five-year-old Lorenzo is diagnosed with a rare and incurable disease, but the Odones' persistence and faith leads to the cure which saves their boy and re-writes medical history.

Cast & Crew

Nick Nolte
Augusto Odone
Susan Sarandon
Michaela Odone
Peter Ustinov
Professor Nikolais
Kathleen Wilhoite
Deirdre Murphy
Gerry Bamman
Dr. Judalon
James Rebhorn
Ellard Muscatine
Ann Hearn
Loretta Muscatine
Mary Wakio
Comorian Teacher
Arnold Burk
Executive Producer
George Miller
Screenwriter
Nick Enright
Screenwriter
John Seale
Cinematographer
Marcus D'Arcy
Film Editor
Kristi Zea
Production Design
Dennis Bradford
Art Director
Karen O'Hara
Set Decoration
Colleen Atwood
Costume Designer
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News & Interviews for Lorenzo's Oil

Critic Reviews for Lorenzo's Oil

All Critics (38) | Top Critics (12) | Fresh (35) | Rotten (3)

  • The questions this movie raises about the medical establishment, drug testing and the clash between science and compassion cannot fail to evoke the battles raging over AIDS. Lorenzo's Oil is strong medicine indeed.

    April 3, 2018 | Full Review…
  • 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.

    October 7, 2012 | Full Review…
  • Exhausting, intelligent and undeniably moving.

    October 7, 2012 | Rating: 4/5 | Full Review…
  • Sarandon ... convincingly conveys a fierceness and tenacity that is almost frightening. The character never lets up, and neither does the film.

    March 26, 2009 | Full Review…
  • 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.

    February 9, 2006 | Full Review…
  • This film has an appealingly brisk, unsentimental style and a rare ability to compress and convey detailed medical data.

    May 20, 2003 | Rating: 4/5
  • The questions this movie raises about the medical establishment, drug testing and the clash between science and compassion cannot fail to evoke the battles raging over AIDS. Lorenzo's Oil is strong medicine indeed.

    April 3, 2018 | Full Review…
  • 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.

    October 7, 2012 | Full Review…
  • Exhausting, intelligent and undeniably moving.

    October 7, 2012 | Rating: 4/5 | Full Review…
  • Sarandon ... convincingly conveys a fierceness and tenacity that is almost frightening. The character never lets up, and neither does the film.

    March 26, 2009 | Full Review…
  • Miller imbues the film with such emotional intensity and conviction that you can't help but get caught up in their plight, cheering them on through every obstacle even as we recognize that whatever victory they may attain can only be partial.

    September 13, 2020 | Rating: 3.5/4 | Full Review…
  • Miller finds humor and horror in medical politics. And, with surgical resolve, he cuts to the emotional quick: the drama is heartrending.

    October 15, 2019 | Full Review…

Audience Reviews for Lorenzo's Oil

  • 11h ago
    It has no easy villains or heroes as each character is observed with a nuance that gives their individual perspectives weight. One of the most emotionally satisfying and important movies about the delicate balance required for activism in medicine.
    Alec B Super Reviewer
  • Aug 23, 2011
    An emotionally draining examination of possibly the most relentless and heartless disease I've ever heard of, Lorenzo's Oil is well wrought, and most definitely worth watching, due largely in part to the fine performances and educatory stance the film takes. It may frustrate you, but it will undoubtedly affect you.
    Cody H Super Reviewer
  • Feb 07, 2011
    A true story about two determined parents who fight to find a cure for their son Lorenzo who has been diagnosed with a rare terminal illness. I found the movie quite boring sometimes when talking about the technical scientific parts of the disease but other times I found myself filled with tears during emotional and heartwarming moments. This movie was very inspiring. However, it could have been a lot better. For one thing, I felt like I was listening to Tommy Pickles' baby gurgling the whole time which was very annoying and distracted me. (This is because Elizabeth Daily played Lorzenzo's heavy breathing. She is also the voice of Tommy Pickles on the Nickelodeon TV show "Rugrats.") Also, sometimes the movie was so technical, it would appeal to someone with a scientific mind and lose people who have less interest in the science and more in the relationships. The acting was really good in this movie and I was very impressed with Zack O'Malley Greenburg's acting. He must have been QUITE a child actor or maybe he really did have a disease. He also spoke different languages! Wow. There was also a slightly heavy-handed scene where the father falls down the stairs and starts tearing at his shirt. This was bizarre and concerning but maybe a parent really would act like that if he knew his son would probably die and there wasn't much he could do about it. The best part of this movie was seeing the love that Lorenzo's parents had for him, and watching his mother Michaela reading to him and talking to him as a human being, not a vegetable, even though he was incapacitated and couldn't respond without blinking his eyes and moving his pinky finger.
    Dannielle A Super Reviewer
  • Nov 07, 2010
    Like cod liver oil, this is a film to watch because it is good for you. You get to see the love of parents for their ailing child and how they find the cure on their own. Yee haw! Yes it is good but haven't we all seen these things before?
    John B Super Reviewer

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