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Affliction

3.4 out of 5 stars 201 customer reviews

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(May 20, 2003)
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Editorial Reviews

Nick Nolte, James Coburn. Russell Banks' tragic tale of misery and self-destruction in a small New Hampshire town. Coburn won an Oscar. 1999/color/114 min/R/fullscreen.

Special Features

None.

Product Details

  • Actors: Nick Nolte, Sissy Spacek, James Coburn, Brigid Tierney, Holmes Osborne
  • Directors: Paul Schrader
  • Writers: Paul Schrader, Russell Banks
  • Producers: Barr B. Potter, Eric Berg, Frank K. Isaac, Josette Perrotta, Linda Reisman
  • Format: Multiple Formats, Closed-captioned, Color, NTSC
  • Language: English
  • Subtitles: English, Spanish
  • Dubbed: French, Spanish
  • Region: Region 1 (U.S. and Canada only. Read more about DVD formats.)
  • Aspect Ratio: 1.78:1
  • Number of discs: 1
  • Rated: R (Restricted)
  • Studio: Lions Gate
  • DVD Release Date: May 20, 2003
  • Run Time: 114 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 3.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (201 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B00008RV1F
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #24,723 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)
  • Learn more about "Affliction" on IMDb

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By A Customer on January 3, 2004
Format: DVD
I saw this movie several years ago and it has stayed with me ever since. Whenever I think about the truly great films I've seen, and would like to see again, this one always makes the list as great, but I have avoided watching it again because, depending upon your childhood, it is extremely disturbing. Beware anyone who has experienced life with an abusive parent, you will see the fear and despair come to life before your eyes. James Coburn and Nick Nolte portray this type of hellish relationship with stunning realism. I have read reviews from those who, apparently, couldn't really believe that parents and children could have such a relationship. Not so, friends. This is a scathing, searing, film -- with no bullets or exploding cars. You have been warned.
Comment 34 of 39 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
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Format: DVD
The movie starts with Wade Whitehouse bringing his daughter to a small town Halloween party. The distance between the two is apparent and about to get worse. They arrive, daughter dressed as a tiger, Wade dressed as a cop. He is a child dressed as a man. The daughter is out of place and unhappy, making this known to Wade. Facing a challenge that is beyond him, he steps outside where he is pulled into the life of some younger people, driving around town, getting stoned and being generally small-town.
Why does Wade shy away from being a man? Because his definition of a man is his father, an abusive and alcoholic ogre. Wade has found peace in being a parody of an adult. He can hang with kids just shy of high school because he has not permitted himself to grow any older than just-short-of-manhood. He is pathetic, but he is also very amiable. He could live his whole life this way. That is, he could if he hadn't already committed to fatherhood and if the new love of his life didn't expect a bit more.
His new love, Marge, is a small town woman through and through. Perhaps she has been passed around a bit, but she has a good heart. She seems barely content with drifting through life, staying just short of ambitious. Perhaps she'll marry her bear-cub boyfriend Wade and have a family while she can. Perhaps not. She is smarter than Wade, but he is fun and harmless, it seems.
Wade's brother, Rolfe, is the kid who managed to avoid the blows of his father. He is the smart one. Smart enough to stay far enough away from his father, smart enough to distract himself from the ruins of abuse with intellectual pursuits. His intelligence bought him a way out. He is committed only to himself.
Exposing his own aggression, Rolfe plants seeds in Wade that will soon be Wade's undoing.
Read more ›
Comment 14 of 16 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
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Format: DVD
This is a truly great movie. What is going to make people either love or hate it is that it is unflinchingly real. This one EXUDES realism. It's for those of us who don't love life and aren't really happy about our present situation. It's for anyone who has ever been humiliated, frustrated and ready to lash out at the miserable world. It's bleak-just like life. Nolte and Coburn have never been and probably never will be better. The writing is superb. There are so many lines that ring true. If your favorite song is "Don't Worry, Be Happy" then you might want to skip this one. For everyone else, I suggest that you savor this classic immediately.
1 Comment 13 of 15 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
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Format: VHS Tape
Based on a novel by Russell Banks who also wrote "The Sweet Hereafter", and directed by Paul Schrader of "Raging Bull" and "The Mosquito Coast" fame, the winter landscape and cold bleakness of the town sets the tone for this exploration of the dark legacy of what it is to be a man.
Nick Nolte stars in this dark story of a the lone policeman in a small New Hampshire town investigating a hunting accident. He is divorced and trying and to get custody of his young daughter who rejects his fumbling efforts to be nice to her. James Coburn is excellent as Nick Nolte's father, a brutal and angry old man who typifies a sick machismo which has in turn afflicted his son. His acting is extraordinary as is Nolte's although their styles are different. Noltle is subtle; his facial expressions are controlled and typical of a man who has learned to hold in emotion. Coburn's face, on the other hand, is more deeply expressive; his eyebrows move, his mouth hardens, his eyes glare.
This is the kind of dark, brooding movie that I like. For a brief few hours I enter its world and get completely absorbed in the characters in the way I did with "A thousand Acres" or "The Horse Whisperers". Like these films, there are no easy answers and the conclusion does not wrap up in a neat little Hollywood package that is soon forgotten. Recommended.
Comment 11 of 13 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
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Format: DVD
This is a well made film and I really wanted to like it. Nick Nolte is a favorite and he certainly delivers a powerfull, deeply human performance here. James Coburn is perfect as his truly odious abusive father. Nolte has a way of making his characters sympathetic even when they are doing horrible things. We can see from the opening scene, a Halloween party where he tries to amuse his daughter, that the guy is trying to do the right thing but that he's never going to make it. He has the "affliction" and nothing he does works out.

From this unhappy start things only get worse. That's the problem with the film--there's no contrast between light and dark, tragedy and happiness. No one grows, develops, changes. I'm not saying that every film has to have a happy ending but just watching someone go down and down before your eyes isn't worth watching. Yes, it makes the point---that abusive fathers breed flawed children--but this is hardly news.

Some good actors are wasted. Sissy Spacek didn't seem right for the part. I kept wondering what such a nice girl saw in this train wreck of a guy. Willem Dafoe, who has done a lot of good work, just seems creepy here and his role as the omnipotent teller of the tale doesn't quite work for me.

Nolte's rivetting performance kept me watching. Maybe that was the problem; he's such an innately likable guy that it was too horrible to see his character just go down the tubes. Like the Sissy Spacek character, I wanted to believe in him.

It's visually stunning but that's because most of it is shot in the snow and snow scenes are almost always gorgeous.

I give it three stars just for Nolte's performance. Don't expect to be inspired, uplifted, entertained or to learn anything.
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