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Tender Mercies (1983)

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Release Date: Mar 4, 1983 Wide

audience

82

liked it
Average Rating: 3.8/5
User Ratings: 3,434

My Rating

Movie Info

Mac Sledge (Robert Duvall), a once-famous country western singer, wakes up broke, alone and hung over in a tiny Texas motel run by widowed Rosa Lee (Tess Harper). Having nowhere else to go, Sledge takes a job at the motel, and through the kindness and faith of Rosa he changes his self-destructive ways. He marries Rosa (after he's baptized at her urging) and becomes a father/pal to her son (Allan Hubbard). Given an opportunity to make a comeback, Sledge considers leaving his new family behind,

PG,

Drama

Horton Foote

Mar 15, 2000

HBO Video

Watch It Now

Cast

Latest News on Tender Mercies

January 4, 2011:
Tender Mercies to Nashville: Country Music at the Movies
With "Country Strong" strumming its way through theaters, the Los Angeles Times looks at some of the...

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All Critics (26) | Top Critics (4) | Fresh (17) | Rotten (3) | DVD (2)

An anti-Hollywood drama that glitters in its subdued form because it's a real gem.

May 5, 2008 Full Review Source: Ozus' World Movie Reviews | Comments (2)
Ozus' World Movie Reviews

Aussie director Beresford makes an impressive American debut with this rural Texas based saga of the recovery and redemption of an alcoholic and abusive country singer, splendidly played by Robert Duvall in an Oscar-winning performance.

April 13, 2008 Full Review Source: EmanuelLevy.Com
EmanuelLevy.Com

I found myself filled with disquieting wishes for something to happen to break the silence.

November 28, 2006 Full Review Source: Goatdog's Movies
Goatdog's Movies

Like a quiet child whose primary virtue is that he doesn't make any waves, Tender Mercies is so muted and obedient that it's hard in good conscience to praise it.

December 6, 2004 Full Review Source: Nick's Flick Picks
Nick's Flick Picks

Earthy Duvall vehicle, wonderful character study

October 23, 2004
Kansas City Kansan

Duvall won an Oscar for this one, and it's still a moving and fascinating flick.

February 3, 2003
Nitrate Online

Little gem of a film complements Duvall's later film "The Apostle"

September 14, 2002
Laramie Movie Scope

Remarkable film about a country western singer, a widow, and her son who try to expel the shadows of the past in order to become strong in the broken places of their lives.

September 1, 2002 Full Review Source: Spirituality and Practice
Spirituality and Practice

Audience Reviews for Tender Mercies

Robert Duvall delivers a great, oscar-winning performance in a film that is actually worthy of it (as opposed to "The Great Santini"). Hell, even the kid (Allen Hubbard) does a good job. Duvall plays an alcholic country singer who, after waking up in a desolate country farmhouse/gas station/motel, decides to stay on and help out the owner (who is a single mother) when he can't afford to pay off his bill. Obviously, the two fall in love and get married (their relationship is formed so quickly they're already married before the movie is ten minutes in), and she helps him sober up and straighten out his life. It's interesting to see how subdued or distant the wife (Tess Harper) is. One of the closing scenes, where Duvall's character has a breakdown, any other movie wife would run to him and hug and comfort him, but this woman (who appears in the corner of the screen), merely turns and walks away. For such a loving wife, it's rather strange behavior (in fact, it leads one to question whether she really loves him, or married him just because he provided a role model for her son). His ex-wife stands in stark contrast, she's driven purely by her music career and doesn't seem to care about anything else. She's a woman who seemingly has it all, but really has nothing, whereas he is someone who appears to have nothing but really has everything he could ever want. He doesn't covet his ex wife's success. Their daughter (Ellen Barkin) is kept from him until at 18, she decides to look him up for herself. It's such a slow-moving, simple tale and yet it feels realistic, like it could've been made-for-television by Robert Altman. Duvall is convincing as a country music singer, and does a good job performing the songs in the movie. Tender Mercies would make a nice contrasting companion piece for Altman's "Nashville", if someone were in the mood for country & western, slice-of-life.
January 30, 2010
Mr Awesome
Devon Bott

Super Reviewer

This Duvall piece influenced a lot of similar films in the future. A lot has been mined out of the "cowboy has difficulty in the modern world" storyline but they all reasonate universally.
April 28, 2014
John Ballantine

Super Reviewer

"Tender Mercies" is a very minimalist effort from director Bruce Beresford, who moves the film along at a calm and unhurried pace. As well, Robert Duvall gives an endearing and honest performance that resonates with every word that he says. Overall, the impact that "Tender Mercies" has on the viewer is not lasting, but watching it is a pleasant experience.
June 3, 2012
Stephen Earnest

Super Reviewer

Robert Duvall is brilliant here. This might be Duvall's best performance of his stellar career. Great direction and screenplay in what I found to be an interesting, moving character study that is so genuine that I, a liberal atheist, could care about and relate to these southern Christians. Great film!
July 29, 2008
sportsphenom1

Super Reviewer

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