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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)



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Cast overview, first billed only:
Eric Poole
Aunt Teresa
Dan Komenko
Vivienne Benesch ...
Lisa Komenko
Brian Patrick Russell ...
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 ...
See more »


Referenced in Friday Night with Jonathan Ross: Episode #11.6 (2006) See more »


Today Has Been OK
Written by Emiliana Torrini and Daniel De Mussenden Carey
Performed by Emiliana Torrini
Published by WB Music Corp. (ASCAP) o/b/o Warner Chappell Music Ltd.
Courtesy of Rough Trade Records Ltd
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User Reviews

Wonderful Cormier adaptation
17 May 2009 | by (Australia) – See all my reviews

I'm a huge Robert Cormier fan and have read every novel he's ever written. So I came to this movie with mixed emotions. I think his books are filmable, as they're relatively short. But they're not easily filmable, as he gets into the heads of his characters and the thought processes are what makes them so interesting. So far there's been 4 adaptations of Cormier's, until now. Chocolate war was an awful movie, messed with the book and changed the ending. Sucked in though to the students who watched the movie and not read the book. I am the cheese, featuring Cormier himself, was quite good - certainly better than it's remake, Lapse of Memory. But it was still flat and sentimental. The Bumblebee Flies Anyway seemed to be aimed too young and was an indie film that tried to overuse its name signing - Janene Garofalo. So I was worried Tenderness, with 2 name signings - Dern and Crowe - would do the same. What it was, though, was brilliant. It doesn't mess with the book as far as I remember it (it's been a few years). It does flesh out Crowe's character, who provides a narrative framework as well, but that actually works for the film and not against it. The ending is brilliant, the tension throughout is brilliant, and the "teenage" actors (really 19 and 25, but they pass well for 16 and 18) are great. It's a bleak tale. It won't be easily sold off the preview. But if you're a Cormier fan looking for a film that captures his ethos of hope through pain, his bleak "there is no light, so learn from the tunnel" themes are all present, which is why his books stand out and why this challenging and masterly crafted film will likely fail at the box office (as it has in Australia, where I'm from) and remain a minor masterpiece.

(If there are any Dern fans there - she has 2 scenes, a cameo really, though she's quite good. Crowe fans - his expanded role really makes him a third lead, while the book was really about the main two. I thought there was room in the film to flesh him out, and they did so nicely. Think about his role in the The Insider - not the lead, but his presence is felt.)

But this film is very thought provoking and challenging. Even if you don't like Crowe it won't matter, and if you've never read a Cormier book, it's a great introduction to his stuff, unlike the other adaptations.

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