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Affliction

1998 Drama

Nick Nolte and James Coburn deliver some of the finest work of their respective careers in this powerful but troubling adaptation of Russell Banks's novel. Wade Whitehouse (Nick Nolte) is the sheriff in a small New England town; it's a part-time job with few taxing responsibilities, and Wade fills his many free hours by swilling booze, smoking pot, and thinking back on his nightmarish childhood. Wade's father Glen (James Coburn) was by turns callous, distant, and abusive, and Wade has inherited his addiction to alcohol and inability to deal with others. Consequently, Wade's ex-wife (Mary Beth Hurt) despises him, his daughter is uncomfortable and frightened in his presence, and the only person who can reach him is his loving but long-suffering girlfriend Margie (Sissy Spacek). When a wealthy businessman is killed in a hunting accident, Wade suspects foul play and pursues the case with an obsession that puzzles all around him; meanwhile, Wade's mother dies and his brother Rolfe (Willem Dafoe), the only one in the family to escape Glen's abuse without crippling emotional scars, returns to pay his respects and is caught up once again in the damaged lives of his father and brother. James Coburn) won an Academy award for Best Supporting Actor for his work in Affliction, while Nick Nolte was nominated for Best Actor (he lost to Roberto Benigni). more..

Director: Paul Schrader

Starring: Nick Nolte, James Coburn, Sissy Spacek, Willem Dafoe, Mary Beth Hurt

Reviews

  • Nolte and Coburn are magnificent in this film, which is like an expiation or amends for abusive men. It is revealing to watch them in their scenes together--to see how they're able to use physical presence to sketch the history of a relationship.

    Roger Ebert - The Chicago Sun-Times

    19 January 2013

  • Affliction -- a beautiful bummer, a magnificent feel-bad movie -- is American filmmaking of a most rewarding order.

    Lisa Schwarzbaum - Entertainment Weekly

    19 January 2013

  • Succeeds in finding something larger than one man's misery. It turns dark truthfulness into the cinematic sentiment most worth celebrating this season.

    - The New York Times

    19 January 2013

  • Rarely have a novelist and filmmaker been better matched.

    Gene Seymour - Los Angeles Times

    19 January 2013

  • Never has an actor embodied the passing down of violence and bitterness from father to son more powerfully.

    Desson Thomson - The Washington Post

    19 January 2013

Awards

  • Best Actor in a Supporting Role

    Academy Awards (1999)

  • Best Actor

    Chlotrudis Awards (1999)

     
  • Best Performance by an Actor in a Motion Picture - Drama

    Golden Globes (1999)

     
  • Best Cinematography

    Independent Spirit Awards (1999)

     
  • Best Actor

    National Society of Film Critics Awards (1999)