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5 user 21 critic

Tenderness (2013)

La tendresse (original title)
Gently-paced family road trip in which divorced parents drive from Brussels to the Alps to pick up their son who has been injured following a skiing accident.

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
...
Lise
...
Frans
Adrien Jolivet ...
Jack
...
Allison
...
Léo, le marin
Hilde Heijnen ...
Antje (as Hilde Hijnen)
Romain David ...
Clément
Dean Mechemache ...
Rachid
Sylvain Zind ...
Sylvain
Valérie Gil ...
Yvette
Jérôme Fonlupt ...
Hervé
Justine Bosco ...
Lucie
Mehdi Senoussi ...
Saïd
Gwen Berrou ...
La femme de ménage station-service
Jean-Marc Michelangeli ...
Médecin chirurgien
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Storyline

Gently-paced family road trip in which divorced parents drive from Brussels to the Alps to pick up their son who has been injured following a skiing accident.

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Genres:

Comedy | Drama

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Release Date:

2 October 2013 (France)  »

Also Known As:

Tenderness  »

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2.35 : 1
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Soundtracks

La Tendresse
by Bourvil
(p) 1965 Capitol Music - Courtesy of EMI Music Belguim
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User Reviews

 
Seemingly simplistic plot translated into an interesting and heart warming movie
6 November 2013 | by (Amersfoort, The Netherlands) – See all my reviews

I saw this film at the Leiden International Film Festival (LIFF) 2013. The story seems simplistic and nothing out of the ordinary, yet carries ample interesting material and entertaining developments, all of that within a journey from Belgium to the Alpes and back home again to Brussels. The movie opens with a long skiing scene, that abruptly ends with an accident. It serves only as a prologue to introduce the repatriation ride, how it came about that the main characters undertook such a ride in the first place.

Who chooses this film while assuming it is about skiing, will be disappointed. The majority of the scenes are shot within the narrow confines of a car, and to a lesser extent in hotels. The term road movie may work partly as characterization of this movie, but only when looking from the outside. It would be misleading, however, since the center of attention is on the people in the car and in the hotels, and particularly how they interact with each other.

An over-simplification of the scenario is as follows. Main characters Frans and Lisa separated 15 years ago, but jointly undertake a repatriation ride for their son who had a ski accident. Anything can happen during the many hours inside the car, be it a mixture of reliving old memories (good and bad), hefty arguments about old issues, or even one of them stepping out of the car halfway, apparently unable to (re)join forces after so many years having lived separate lives. The son in question also receives a fair share of scenes, but considerably less than the two parents. We observe the son and his new girl friend before the four of them meet. And of course the son has his role as family member returning home, actually being the very target of this repatriation journey in the first place, but still of relatively minor importance.

Admittedly, above description is far from adequate. It falsely suggests that nothing interesting happens, only a couple of rows, lots of hugging, and a fair amount of tittle-tattle in between. Luckily we see rather the opposite, by virtue of an effective script that makes it all work out very differently. The end result is not only interesting due to the interactions between the main characters, but also the humor interwoven in the proceedings makes this movie worthwhile. Take for instance the evasive maneuvers that Frans and Lisa try, in order to avoid sleeping together in a double bed in the last available room of an otherwise fully booked hotel. And people interested in road movies may grab their interesting details underway (not belonging to that group, I'm not sure about this aspect).

All in all, as my expectations (see above) were moderate, euphemistically speaking, after reading the synopsis on the festival website, I was very relieved to see my fears disappearing while the movie progressed. The interactions between the father, mother and son were unexpectedly interesting, very different from the clichés one might assume in the given situation. And in sparse moments when there were only roads and mountains to drive along, extra characters were thrown in to liven up the situation, like for example the hitchhiking fisherman on his way to Hamburg. As a result, there were no dull moments where I wanted to consult my watch. All this is due to the excellent performance of the main actors. They are sympathetic to us from start to finish, in spite of some nasty habits they show, which they don't hesitate to point out to each other, and also in spite of some less politically correct comments about people they meet. On the other hand, all of this only shows their real nature, and this is a good thing in a movie that relies on its main characters and their behavior.


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