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Tenderness (2009)

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A policeman works to figure out whether a violent teen murdered his family.



(screenplay), (novel)





Cast overview, first billed only:
Eric Poole
Aunt Teresa
Dan Komenko
Vivienne Benesch ...
Lisa Komenko
Facility Director (as Brian Russell)
Lou Sumrall ...
Cafeteria Guard
Jackie Cristofuoro
Sam (as Lee Sellars)
Matt Pepper ...
Another Guard


Three lives. Buffalo detective Lt. Cristofuoro, whose catatonic wife is in hospital, takes a special interest in Eric Komenko, a juvenile who killed his parents and will be freed on his 18th birthday. So has Lori Cranston, 15 or 16, her body fully developed and the object of lust by her boss and her mother's new boyfriend. She keeps a scrapbook about Eric, and when he's released from custody, she hides in the backseat of his car, insisting he take her with him on a trip toward Albany where he's planning to meet a girl. Cristofuoro is certain Eric will kill again, so he follows. It's clear early on that Cristofuoro's probably right, but what's Lori's motivation? Written by <jhailey@hotmail.com>

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis


The intimacy of the kill.


Crime | Drama | Thriller

Motion Picture Rating (MPAA)

Rated R for disturbing violent and sexual content, and language | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:





Release Date:

15 January 2009 (Israel)  »

Also Known As:

Tenderness - Auf der Spur des Killers  »

Company Credits

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs


Sound Mix:


Aspect Ratio:

2.35 : 1
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Did You Know?


Russell Crowe filmed all of his scenes in 9 days. See more »


When checking the back seat of his car for Eric, Detective Cristofuoro cocked his gun and the slide stayed open, showing the gun was unloaded. In the next shot, the gun's slide was closed. See more »


[first lines]
Lt. Cristofuoro: My wife likes to say there are two kinds of people, those chasing pleasure, and those running from pain. Lorelei Cranston is Running. Running from all kinds of everything. Probably has been her whole life.
Lt. Cristofuoro: If you ask me, nobody gets to escape their pain. It's there when you brush your teeth at night. It's there before breakfast. It will come up fierce and sharp, and lay in to you blunt and heavy. The most you can hope for is one good day. Because on a good day you get to tell ...
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Referenced in Friday Night with Jonathan Ross: Episode #11.6 (2006) See more »


All That I Need
Written by Debra Desalvo
Performed by Debra Desalvo, John Hummel and Duke Rashkow
Published by La Que Sabe Music (ASCAP)
Courtesy of True Nature Records
By Arrangement with Shelly Bay Music LLC
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User Reviews

A much improved Polson answers his critics with 'Tenderness'
19 September 2009 | by (Miami Beach, Florida) – See all my reviews

'Tenderness' was first recommended to me by a close friend who I normally trust as far as judgment in film. However, when I learned the director, John Polson, was responsible for such films as 'Swimfan' and 'Hide & Seek', I had my doubts... As the movie progressed I found myself reassured by some emotionally provoking cinematography, strong performances, and an intriguing story. This film obviously is not comparable to Polson's previous flawed films. No, 'Tenderness' is actually substantial proof that Polson does have some talent in his bones after all.

After several years of juvenile incarceration for the horrific murders of his parents, Eric Poole (Jon Foster) is released back into the world amidst much controversy. While dealing with his wife's terminal condition, Retired Detective Cristofuoro (Russell Crowe) keeps close watch on Eric after his release waiting for him to slip up. Shortly after returning to his Aunt's home, Eric sets off to Albany to look at colleges. Suspecting that there is more to the trip that Eric is letting on, Eric's Aunt Teresa (Laura Dern) notifies the Detective of the trip. Fueled by an obsession by a seemingly chance encounter with Eric before the murders, a young and immature teen, Lori (Sophie Traub), forces a second encounter and finds herself accompanying Eric on his journey all while both searching for their own version of tenderness.

While it's no secret that this is not a perfect film, there is something to be said about this adaptation of Robert Cormier's novel. Instead of drawing from high suspense of the occurring events and without spelling everything out for the audience like most American films, Australian director Polson focuses on studying the film's characters. Though the characterization is a worthy effort, I still felt that the full potential of each character's depth was not explored. As long as you can get past Polson's earlier work and view the film with an open mind, you should be able to enjoy 'Tenderness' for as much as I did.

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