"It was viewed through the prism of this wonderful man who was at the very end of his life," Affleck said at the West Hollywood, Calif., premiere of "To the Wonder." And to see the movie through that lens was one of the most powerful things to ever happen to me in my career."
Ebert's review of the movie, directed by Terrence Malick, was published online Friday, the day after his death. "To the Wonder" is scheduled to open April 19 in Chicago.
The late critic wrote admiringly of Malick's attempt "to reach beneath the surface, and find the soul in need."
"I did read it," Affleck said. "I thought it was lovely. I went and visited Roger last summer and talked about 'Argo.' I was in his [Chicago] home, and met his wife and saw how tough [conditions] were after his surgery. I was so moved by the cheerfulness that he had toward this, the sort of way that he bore that burden.
"I mean, for days after I left -- he gave me a copy of his book and I read it, I just was so inspired by that. By a guy who was fighting something that was really debilitating, and was so gracious and warm and loved life."
The movie's co-star, Rachel McAdams, said she usually avoids reviews but made an exception for Ebert's. "It made me cry," she said. "It's a really interesting review to be his last. It's very apropos, in a way -- talking about, 'Does a movie have to have all the answers? Why not, not quite know what's out there and what it's all about?' "