ABSENCE OF MALICE is a rather soupy middle-aged romance labouring under its aspirations to be an intelligent discourse about journalistic integrity. Sally Fields plays a grotesquely naive and sloppy writer for a local Miami newspaper. She's suckered into writing an ill-researched piece that accuses a local businessman (Paul Newman) of being involved in the disappearance of labour leader. Newman's character spends the rest of the movie asserting his innocence - despite his shady connections he's so transparently innocent there's not much tension. And to make things even more ludicrous, Sally Field's character even starts an affair with Paul Newman's character. Clearly, director Sydney Pollack and screen-writer (and ex-journo) Kurt Luedtke want to say something deep and meaningful about the sad state of journalism. What they actually end up with is a third-rate romance. Avoid at all costs despite the high-powered cast. BROADCAST NEWS runs rings round this flick.
ABSENCE OF MALICE played Berlin 1982 and opened in 1981 and 1982. Melinda Dillon, Kurt Luedtke and Paul Newman were nominated for Oscars but lost out to Maureen Stapleton (REDS), Colin Welland (CHARIOTS OF FIRE) and Henry Fonda (ON GOLDEN POND) respectively.