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Tenderness (2008)


Average Rating: 4.6/10
Reviews Counted: 14
Fresh: 5
Rotten: 9

Critics Consensus: No consensus yet.

No Top Critics Tomatometer score yet...

Average Rating: N/A
Reviews Counted: 3
Fresh: 0
Rotten: 3


Average Rating: 2.5/5
User Ratings: 1,724


Movie Info

A nail-biting psychological thriller, that never lets you go. Set in New York State, the story center's on juvenile murderer, Eric Poole, who at 18, is released from jail having served his sentence for the murder of a young girl. Russell Crowe plays the hard-bitten detective who put him away and who is sure that Poole is a potential serial killer who will reoffend. He makes it his mission to keep Poole under surveillance as he sets off on a seemingly innocent road trip up-state. But all is not … More

R (for disturbing violent and sexual content, and language)
Art House & International , Drama
Directed By:
Written By:
Emil Stern
In Theaters:
Apr 13, 2010


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Critic Reviews for Tenderness

All Critics (14) | Top Critics (3) | Fresh (5) | Rotten (9)

Crowe's lumbering presence is a relief from all the gothic heaviness, but director John Polson's elliptical storytelling style quickly becomes an irritant.

Full Review… | December 11, 2009
New York Daily News
Top Critic

A movie undone by its formulaic plot conventions, and its need to give its star more screen time than his characters merits.

Full Review… | December 11, 2009
New York Times
Top Critic

Crowe, who spends the movie trudging along ... and waxing lyrical about pain and pleasure, must be hoping no one sees this mawkish blunder. He will probably get his wish.

Full Review… | December 11, 2009
New York Post
Top Critic

An arty psychological thriller that never catches fire as either a serial killer flick or character study.

Full Review… | June 22, 2011
Ozus' World Movie Reviews

Russell Crowe stumbles through lifeless thriller.

Full Review… | December 31, 2010

The picture is crowded with captivating tones and contemplation, navigating a tricky tale of murder, perversion, and obsession with a fine edge of suspense and an interesting take on the human condition.

Full Review… | April 25, 2010

Polson maintains an unsettling tension throughout the narrative, building his slow-burn thriller to a climax that deliberately runs counter to the in-your-face genre principles of which he proved such a master with his first two thriller outings.

Full Review… | May 1, 2009
The Age (Australia)

Since moving to Hollywood, Australian director John Polson has become a very competent filmmaker. I hope he finds better scripts for his future projects.

Full Review… | May 1, 2009
MovieTime, ABC Radio National

It's hard to understand what keeps these characters moving, and without true indie grit or the runaway tension that would otherwise satisfy the multiplex, Tenderness drops somewhere in-between...and that is mostly a disappointing nowhere.

Full Review… | May 1, 2009
FILMINK (Australia)

Cormier himself called Tenderness a tough book written in "a minor key" and perhaps Polson was inspired by the description. But if so, he doesn't come close.

Full Review… | May 1, 2009
Sydney Morning Herald

It does have a few plot contrivances, but the tension is skilfully built and the cast is uniformly excellent.

Full Review… | May 1, 2009
At the Movies (Australia)

This is a fascinating study, but the adaptation struggles to get the story across with as much punch as it might. On the other hand, John Polson shows a lucid eye for the genre

Full Review… | April 24, 2009
Urban Cinefile

The mood that Polson creates is a little like walking into a thick mist and finding yourself lost in the fog. Perhaps we get a little too lost within, but much of the film is engrossing, as are the performances

Full Review… | April 24, 2009
Urban Cinefile

Audience Reviews for Tenderness


This is a really good film. About a police detective who is possessed in making sure a young man who killed his parents spends the rest of his life in prison. At the same time when he is released from prison after turning 18, a young teenage girl falls in love with him. Trying to go straight is impossible because of the harassing detective. A surprising but predictable finish, first time I felt sorry for a killer. Excellent Job John Poison. 4 1/2 stars.

Bruce Bruce

Super Reviewer

This 'Tenderness' turned out to be pretty hard on me. I can't understand why Russell Crowe chose to work in it. While his performance was (as well as that of other actors/actresses were) great as usual, the script was a bit too let-downer. I wasn't expecting anything incredible after seeing its rating as 5.6 on IMDb, but this was even lower than what I expected from a movie of that rating. It lacked that intensity that ought to be in this kind of movies.

familiar stranger

Super Reviewer

I actually thought this was quite good, and am surprised by all the bad reviews. Obviously I didn't like the ending very much, but these were all very damaged people, it perhaps wasn't so surprising. I thought Sophie Traub was lovely in this - I really took to her Lori straight away, and found her convincing and real. Russell Crowe is the weakest here, but having said that, I liked him here more than I usually do (which is not at all). Good story and I found it not entirely predictable. Contrary to what others have said, I didn't think this film dragged at all. It moves slowly, but that's not always a bad thing in a movie. The slow pace allows you to really get a feel for the lives of these people.

Nicki Marie

Super Reviewer

One of the worst performances by Crowe. Maybe this is where he got his awful portrayal of Javert in Les Miserables from. A real snoozer.

John Ballantine
John Ballantine

Super Reviewer

Tenderness Quotes

Lt. Cristofuoro:
My wife says there are two kinds of people, those chasing pleasure and those running from pain.
– Submitted by Frances H (21 months ago)
Lori Cranston:
Nothing changes! Nothing changes!
– Submitted by Frances H (21 months ago)
Lori Cranston:
You're just a small beans cop with a vegetable wife.
– Submitted by Frances H (21 months ago)
Lt. Cristofuoro:
He's addicted to the intimacy of the kill, the tenderness.
– Submitted by Frances H (21 months ago)
Lori Cranston:
I mean, I'm not all Susie-Creamcheese, or whatever.
– Submitted by Frances H (21 months ago)
Lt. Cristofuoro:
You're a psychopathic, Eric. You know it and I know it. You're going to kill again. And I want to prevent that from happening.
– Submitted by Frances H (21 months ago)

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