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Tenderness (2008)


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Average Rating: N/A
Critic Reviews: 3
Fresh: 0 | Rotten: 3



liked it
Average Rating: 2.5/5
User Ratings: 1,720

My Rating

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


Art House & International, Drama

Emil Stern

Apr 13, 2010


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December 10, 2009:
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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.

December 11, 2009 Full Review Source: New York Daily News
New York Daily News
Top Critic IconTop Critic

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

December 11, 2009 Full Review Source: New York Times
New York Times
Top Critic IconTop 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.

December 11, 2009 Full Review Source: New York Post
New York Post
Top Critic IconTop Critic

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

June 22, 2011 Full Review Source: Ozus' World Movie Reviews
Ozus' World Movie Reviews

Russell Crowe stumbles through lifeless thriller.

December 31, 2010 Full Review Source:

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.

April 25, 2010 Full Review Source:

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.

May 1, 2009 Full Review Source: The Age (Australia)
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.

May 1, 2009 Full Review Source: MovieTime, ABC Radio National
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.

May 1, 2009 Full Review Source: FILMINK (Australia)
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.

May 1, 2009 Full Review Source: Sydney Morning Herald
Sydney Morning Herald

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

May 1, 2009 Full Review Source: At the Movies (Australia) | Comment (1)
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

April 24, 2009 Full Review Source: Urban Cinefile
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

April 24, 2009 Full Review Source: Urban Cinefile
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.
February 4, 2011
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.
December 23, 2010

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.
November 17, 2010

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.
March 26, 2013
John Ballantine

Super Reviewer

    1. Lt. Cristofuoro: My wife says there are two kinds of people, those chasing pleasure and those running from pain.
    – Submitted by Frances H (20 months ago)
    1. Lori Cranston: Nothing changes! Nothing changes!
    – Submitted by Frances H (20 months ago)
    1. Lori Cranston: You're just a small beans cop with a vegetable wife.
    – Submitted by Frances H (20 months ago)
    1. Lt. Cristofuoro: He's addicted to the intimacy of the kill, the tenderness.
    – Submitted by Frances H (20 months ago)
    1. Lori Cranston: I mean, I'm not all Susie-Creamcheese, or whatever.
    – Submitted by Frances H (20 months ago)
    1. 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 (20 months ago)
View all quotes (7)

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