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>
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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