Aurora and Emma are mother and daughter who march to different drummers. Beginning with Emma's marriage, Aurora shows how difficult and loving she can be. The movie covers several years of ... See full summary »
James L. Brooks
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 <email@example.com>
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 »
A Good Film Carried by Robert Duvall's Oscar-Winning Performance
"Tender Mercies" is a strong character study about a washed-up country singer (Robert Duvall, in his Oscar-winning role) who finds the will to live and makes the most of his life. After spending a drunken night at a small motel in Texas, he meets the woman (Tess Harper) who can change his life for the better. She owns the motel and after allowing Duvall to stay for a while by doing odd jobs, she marries him and he starts his transformation. Duvall still has songs to sing, but his heart is just not in it any more. His ex-wife has become a singing star, partly by using the songs that Duvall wrote himself. She has also kept their daughter away from him because she was afraid he might do something in a drunken rage. Duvall comes to terms with everything and shows that he is a changed man. He meets his now-grown daughter (Ellen Barkin) and realizes that everything that has happened has occurred for the right reason. However, tragedy will strike and Duvall will have to show how great a person he really is. "Tender Mercies" is a film that works due to quiet performances, subtle direction, and a smart screenplay. The film runs a crisp 89 minutes, but never feels rushed. Robert Duvall finally got the chance to showcase his acting ability and he does not disappoint. His performance is the greatest attribute here, but this does not mean that everything else is not impressive. 4.5 out of 5 stars.
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