User Score
8.4

Universal acclaim- based on 13 Ratings

User score distribution:
  1. Positive: 12 out of 13
  2. Mixed: 0 out of 13
  3. Negative: 1 out of 13
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  1. YoonC.
    Sep 13, 2003
    8
    An intelligent and painstakingly crafted movie about the effects of parental abuse--sadistic temprament plus alcoholism--on children well into adulthood. Nolte plays a man who can never grow out of the traumas of his youth, as a psychological cripple and prisoner of his father's tyranny; how even his view of the world is unalterably colored by the mood of fear and intimidation so An intelligent and painstakingly crafted movie about the effects of parental abuse--sadistic temprament plus alcoholism--on children well into adulthood. Nolte plays a man who can never grow out of the traumas of his youth, as a psychological cripple and prisoner of his father's tyranny; how even his view of the world is unalterably colored by the mood of fear and intimidation so pervasively injected into his soul like poison. Grim, depressing, harrowing, but rewarding. Expand
  2. MazRez
    Dec 16, 2001
    10
    Definitely THE best movie i've ever seen. I felt Nolte did an amazing job!
  3. PatC.
    Dec 19, 2003
    9
    A surprisingly realistic rendition of life out of the limelight, and a tragedy of Shakespearean scope where we understand how we got where we are. Magnificent performances by Nolte & Coburn, who interact to show us what actors are capable of when portraying people as they are when they go awry. This is not escapist entertainment, it's a scary reminder of the bullets some of us have A surprisingly realistic rendition of life out of the limelight, and a tragedy of Shakespearean scope where we understand how we got where we are. Magnificent performances by Nolte & Coburn, who interact to show us what actors are capable of when portraying people as they are when they go awry. This is not escapist entertainment, it's a scary reminder of the bullets some of us have been fortunate enough to have dodged, so one may not want to watch it 10 times. When it's all over, the movie has made a powerful case that we all have redemptive qualities, but fails to point them out. McDonagh's review is correct: the characters could have been cradled a little more. Expand
  4. NedD.
    Sep 14, 2001
    9
    The kind of film that makes you want to hurl yourself in front of a speeding train, but in the best possible way. Painfully acute and powerfully cathartic. Definitely not a "happy" flick, which is fine with me.
Metascore
79

Generally favorable reviews - based on 35 Critics

Critic score distribution:
  1. Positive: 29 out of 35
  2. Negative: 1 out of 35
  1. Reviewed by: John Hartl
    90
    Affliction could be their (Nolte, Coburn) finest couple of hours on film; they do seem to be father and son, rather than actors playing these roles.
  2. Nolte, reinforced by the bleak discretion of Schrader's direction and a wonderful supporting cast, makes the most of the opportunity.
  3. Reviewed by: Todd McCarthy
    60
    The pervasive chill, ugly feelings and downward spiral of the narrative make this a work that requires an equally sober, serious-minded attitude on the part of the viewer.