Ben Affleck is an American actor, director, producer and screenwriter who has had a long career in Hollywood. He first gained recognition in the mid-1990s for his work in films like “Chasing Amy” and “Good Will Hunting,” and later went on to star as Bruce Wayne/Batman in several blockbuster superhero films.
Despite his successes, Affleck has often faced a significant amount of criticism and backlash from audiences and the media throughout his career. There are several key reasons why the actor has had his fair share of detractors over the years.
His Acting Abilities Have Been Questioned
One of the biggest criticisms leveled at Ben Affleck is that he lacks depth and range as an actor. While he has turned in some well-received performances, he has also been accused of phoning it in for numerous roles where he appears bored or disinterested on screen.
His nonchalant style of acting and flat affect have led many viewers to see him as more of a movie star than a serious actor dedicated to his craft. Even in major blockbuster films like “Batman v Superman” and “Justice League,” Affleck has been criticized for turning in uninspired performances compared to his co-stars like Henry Cavill and Gal Gadot.
The “Sad Affleck” Meme
- The “Sad Affleck” meme gained popularity after an interview where Ben appeared dejected and melancholy. It encapsulated the perception of Ben as an actor lacking passion.
This perception of Affleck as an actor without much emotional depth or investment in roles culminated in the viral “Sad Affleck” meme.
Originating from a deflated-looking interview Affleck gave while promoting “Batman v Superman,” the meme underscored how audiences saw him as going through the motions in superhero films he didn’t seem to care much about.
Deadpan Acting Style
Affleck’s flattened affect and low-energy acting register reads as apathy or boredom to many viewers.
Even in more dramatic roles like “Gone Girl,” his deadpan style came off as detached and unappealing. While it works for some tongue-in-cheek roles, for many it lacks emotional resonance and charisma expected of a headlining actor.
Lack of Range
Beyond a fairly limited set of expressions and delivery, Affleck has also been criticized for not showing much range between characters and types of roles. While capable of playing cynical or world-weary very well, audiences haven’t gotten to see him flex dramatic chops beyond his niche.
He Has Starred in Numerous Critical and Commercial Flops
Another major driver of the animosity toward Affleck has been his consistent track record of starring in box office flops and poorly reviewed films over the past 15 years. Here are some of the biggest duds he has headlined:
This infamous romantic comedy is often called one of the worst films ever made. Affleck starred opposite then-girlfriend Jennifer Lopez, and their lack of chemistry doomed the film. It made less than $7 million against a $75 million budget.
“Surviving Christmas” (2004)
Affleck played a lonely millionaire who rents a family to spend Christmas with. The bizarre comedy bombed, earning only $15 million on a $45 million budget.
Despite the draw of Affleck and co-star Uma Thurman, this sci-fi thriller was panned for its incoherent plot and lack of logic. It barely made back its $60 million budget.
Affleck’s first entry in superhero films was this flop adaptation panned for poor acting, writing and special effects. While it turned a profit, it was still seen as a box office disappointment.
“Live by Night” (2016)
Affleck wrote, directed and starred in this gangster drama. With a bloated budget of $65 million and only $23 million in box office receipts, it lost tens of millions for the studio.
The cumulative effect of all these high-profile bombs has damaged Affleck’s appeal as a reliable box office draw. After so many commercial and critical flops headlining vehicles, audiences are less eager to turn up to a film simply because he is in it.
He Had a High-Profile Romance with Jennifer Lopez
Another tabloid magnet period for Affleck came in the early 2000s when he dated, became engaged to, and co-starred with pop singer and actress Jennifer Lopez. Their over-the-top relationship provided ample fodder for the paparazzi and fueled a backlash.
As “Bennifer,” Lopez and Affleck became a constant object of media obsession. Their showy relationship provided them with significant negative publicity, as audiences tired of the non-stop coverage.
Perception of Arrogance
Bennifer became associated with vanity and arrogance in Hollywood. Their joint film “Gigli” was perceived as an indulgent vanity project that bombed horribly. This cemented a perception of the couple as being out-of-touch and self-important.
Engagement Called Off
After nearly two years together, Lopez and Affleck called off their engagement in 2004. The messy, highly covered split only added to the impression that they typified the worst of celebrity culture and hubris.
He Had a Period of Heavy Alcohol Abuse
For a period of time in the 2000s, Affleck struggled with alcohol addiction issues while his career was in decline. Paparazzi frequently captured him stumbling drunk coming out of bars and clubs. His drinking fueled negative stories about the actor being unprofessional and out-of-control.
Entered Rehab in 2001
Affleck first went into rehab in 2001, though he did not entirely get sober. His drinking visibly worsened throughout the 2000s as his films flopped.
Intoxicated TV Appearances
Affleck appeared unfocused, rambling and intoxicated during some promotional interviews for his films. Slurring words on late night talk shows, it undermined his professional reputation.
Caught Drunk On Set
There were reports of Affleck being drunk on set filming movies, unable to successfully get through takes and wasting valuable production time and money.
Paparazzi frequently caught Affleck stumbling drunk coming out of bars late at night, contributing to a perception he was reckless and undisciplined.
He Divorced Jennifer Garner After Cheating Rumors
After marrying actress Jennifer Garner and having three children together, Affleck continued having issues with alcohol abuse and was accused of cheating on Garner with their children’s nanny. Garner filed for divorce in 2018 after a two-year separation.
Seen as Destructive to Marriage
When rumors came out that Affleck had cheated on Garner with their nanny, he faced backlash for his role in ruining his marriage.
Entered Rehab Again During Separation
Affleck returned to rehab during his separation from Garner, indicating his drinking was still an issue despite nearly losing his family.
Blamed for Divorce
As the one who had admitted to cheating, Affleck shouldered much of public blame for the demise of their marriage. Critics saw it as another marker of Affleck’s flawed character and poor decision making.
He Frequently Appears Aloof or Arrogant
Affleck’s sometimes overly serious or cocksure public persona has also rubbed people the wrong way over the years. His attitude in interviews, comments about his career and romantic relationships have painted him in a less-than-flattering light.
Perceived Lack of Enthusiasm
When Affleck seems less than enthused talking about his own movies during press tours, it gives the impression he has a sense of superiority over the material and that he’s “slumming it.”
Affleck has come off as arrogant regarding past relationships – such as when he called getting engaged to Jennifer Lopez “wrong and disgusting.” He also seems to play up his masculinity and sexual prowess in a cocksure manner.
Drives Backlash for Comments
Affleck’s tendency towards eyebrow-raising comments always ensures some level of backlash – like when he called marriage to Jennifer Garner “work” or complained about being thought of as Batman. He seems oblivious to how his words fuel criticism against him.
He Is Perceived as a Privileged Hollywood Insider
As the younger brother of director Kevin Smith’s frequent collaborator Ben Affleck, he is seen by some as having ease and privilege helping him get early career breaks into Hollywood. While clearly talented, his rapid ascension evokes skepticism for some audiences.
Grew Up in Comfortable Background
Affleck and brother Casey grew up with an upper middle class background centered around the arts in Cambridge, Massachusetts. While not uber-rich celebrities, they had access to opportunity and culture.
Easy Breaks Into Hollywood
With Ben’s quick success, Casey gained access to Hollywood and major film auditions while still a teenager. Whether fair or not, this can provoke a reaction for gaining an advantage.
Plays Privileged Roles
Cast often as smug yuppies and arrogant frat boys (like in “School Ties”), Affleck’s early career was defined by playing privileged men born with a leg up over others. This typing further fueled a “rich kid” image.
Conclusion: Why Ben Affleck Provokes Such Strong Reactions
Ben Affleck is undoubtedly a polarizing Hollywood figure who elicits strong responses from audiences for a variety of reasons. While he has had critical and commercial successes over the course of his career, the combination of poor film choices, his conduct in high-profile relationships, and a perceived arrogant demeanor have damaged his reputation time and again in the eyes of audiences and the media.
The peaks and valleys of his career path give the impression of someone handed opportunity but who does not always make the most of it. His aloof presentation during interviews and talk show appearances does not ingratiate him to viewers, even if it is a defense mechanism against intense media scrutiny.
Fair or not, the totality of Affleck’s work, words and actions places him firmly in the territory of celebrities who have trouble connecting on a broad likable level with fans. He is commonly seen as embodying the worst tendencies of Hollywood excess and vanity.
While Affleck has proven himself a talented filmmaker and actor with standout performances, the periodic missteps that play out so publicly in his work and personal life make it difficult for him to overcome negative perceptions. Until he can change the narrative, he is likely to remain a polarizing figure that the public loves to hate.
Frequently Asked Questions about Ben Affleck Hatred
Why did Ben Affleck get so much hate for Batman?
Affleck received significant backlash when first cast as Batman/Bruce Wayne in the DC Extended Universe films. Fans objected that he did not have the right look or serious acting gravitas to play the brooding, imposing superhero based on his prior work.
What happened between Ben Affleck and Jennifer Garner?
Affleck and Garner were married for over 10 years before separating in 2015 and filing for divorce in 2018. They had three children together. Their split was rumored to be prompted by Affleck’s drinking and alleged cheating with their children’s nanny.
How did Ben Affleck and Jennifer Lopez meet?
The two stars met in 2002 on the set of the film “Gigli” in which they co-starred as romantic interests. Around this time they also began dating, leading to a highly covered relationship the tabloid media dubbed “Bennifer”.
Why did Ben Affleck and Jennifer Lopez break up?
After a two-year relationship and getting engaged, Lopez and Affleck called off their planned wedding in 2004, citing excessive media attention as the reason. They stated they would remain friends in the aftermath of the broken engagement.
What was Ben Affleck’s first major acting role?
One of Affleck’s first breakout roles was as a basketball star named Jack Hamilton in 1992 sports drama film “School Ties” with Brendan Fraser and Matt Damon.
Is Ben Affleck a good director?
Affleck has earned praise for directing films like “Gone Baby Gone”, “The Town”, and “Argo”, winning a Best Picture Oscar for the latter. This indicates strong skills behind the camera, even if his acting draws more mixed reviews.
What was Ben Affleck’s lowest point?
Affleck’s struggled with alcohol abuse throughout the 2000s, damaging his personal life and career. Many saw his lowest moment as the end of his marriage to Jennifer Garner in 2018 following rehab stints and cheating rumors.
Why did Ben Affleck and Kevin Smith fall out?
Longtime collaborators and friends Affleck and director Kevin Smith had a public falling out in the late 1990s due to issues surrounding “Chasing Amy.” But the two later reconciled and remain on good terms.
What is Ben Affleck doing now?
In the past year, Affleck has received acclaim for his performance in the sports drama “The Way Back.” He has been filming the historical drama “Hypnotic” and is attached to an upcoming thriller “Deep Water.” Affleck will also appear as Batman again in “The Flash” film.
Is Ben Affleck married now?
Affleck is not currently married. He was married to Jennifer Garner from 2005-2018. After their split, he dated television producer Lindsay Shookus and musician Katie Cherry. As of 2022, he has been dating actress Ana de Armas.