In 1984, British journalist Arthur Stuart investigates the career of 1970s glam superstar Brian Slade, who was heavily influenced in his early years by hard-living and rebellious American singer Curt Wild.
Jonathan Rhys Meyers,
Alchoholic former country singer Mac Sledge makes friends with a young widow and her son. The friendship enables him to find inspiration to resume his career. Written by
Stefan Halldorsson <firstname.lastname@example.org>
The film was originally released on March 4, 1983 in only three movie theaters in New York City, Los Angeles, and Chicago. This was due perhaps in part to poor test screenings - which had caused Universal executives to lose faith in the film - but also because Universal had released the far more expensive and anticipated Scarface (1983) the same year, and was spending most of its advertising budget to promote that film instead. Country music star Willie Nelson was nonetheless one of several country performers who were impressed by the authenticity of Robert Duvall's performance and offered to help promote it, however, studio executives told Duvall that they did not understand how someone like Nelson could help publicize it. Duvall later reflected that this was indicative of the studio's lack of understanding about both the genre and the film. See more »
In the final scenes, Sonny is shown with empty farmland behind him, then after a cut to a wider shot, suddenly the gas station and motel are behind him. See more »
This movie demonstrates what happens when the rare, magical perfect combination clicks together. Duvall, Beresford and Foote blended their talents marvelously and managed to fool the critics by producing a film that is absolutely one of the best ever. Its draw at the box office and on video may have surprised the critics, but is understood by those who place a high value on well-written and well-acted drama. I have nearly worn out my VHS copy from multiple viewings but I have never worn out the experience. The film is uplifting because it is all about unhoped hope finding fulfillment.
The movie combines tragedy and pathos with love, warmth and redemption in a manner that rarely occurs in a Hollywood production. To top it off, it does it so that there is not a phoney or contrived moment in the picture. Excellent and somewhat surprising supporting performances came from newcomer Tess Harper (discovered for this film by Duvall and Beresford) Ellen Barkin and Betty Buckley. Brimley (impossible to dislike in any role) is perfect as Buckley's manager.
One of the best scenes in the movie occurs when the young band drops over to "just say howdy" to the ex-singer. Harper is guarded and protective at first, but the pure hearts and openly embarrassed intent of the young men quickly win her and the viewer over. It is a touching and beautiful scene. It reminds you that there is still decency and humility among American youth (maybe we should all visit east Texas once in a while, although you can easily find it in most parts of rural USA).
No action flik this. The best word I know to describe Tender Mercies is "heartwarming." If you have not yet watched it, by all means do yourself a favor: beg, borrow, rent or steal a copy without delay. You'll never think of Duvall or Texas or country music the same again.
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