Tender Mercies (1983)

Tender Mercies Movie Review…………………………………………………………………………………

Tender Mercies Movie Review

Tender Mercies is a 1983 drama film directed by Bruce Beresford and starring Robert Duvall. It is quite a good, moving drama.

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I don’t know why I wandered out to this part of Texas drunk, and you took me in and pitied me and helped me to straighten out, marry me.

Why? Why did that happen? Is there a reason that happened?

And Sonny’s daddy died in the war, my daughter killed in an automobile accident.

Why? See, I don’t trust happiness. I never did; I never will.

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Tender Mercies Movie Review…………………………………………………………………………………

It is about a recovering alcoholic country singer who seeks to turn his life around through his relationship with a young widow and her son in rural Texas. First of all, I have to say that I get why many people nowadays would find this film overrated as it is slow and it is too simplistic and ordinary at glance. But I really liked it nonetheless mainly because it is the kind of drama that unfolds in a very simple and calm way and just after you’ve seen it, you realize how deep and meaningful it actually was. I love that quality in film which is why I admired Tender Mercies.

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Tender Mercies Movie Review…………………………………………………………………………………

Obviously you have the theme of family and love. The film very clearly states that love is the most powerful thing in the universe and that it is a driving force in human relationships and that it can save people and it did save the protagonist here. I also really liked its religious themes as he became a Christian late in his life and it helped his life, but after his daughter died, he realized that Christianity can’t shield you from death and tragedy after all. The best thing about the ending is how poignant it is. It shows us that some relationships can’t be mended and how his relationship with his daughter will remain a giant missed opportunity. But it is still a happy ending as he remains sober and settles down with his new family and I just loved that conclusion.

What I didn’t love is the film’s character development as it is quite weak. The dialogue is excellent when it is there, but it is too sparse and there were too many quiet moments. The characters are realistic and good, but I wish we spent a bit more time with each one of them. As for the acting, everyone did a solid job, but Robert Duvall is naturally the highlight as he won an Oscar for this performance. In my opinion, he won because it was a weak year and he didn’t do anything truly extraordinary here, but he still did give a rather natural, subtle and even sensual performance and he definitely carried the entire movie on his shoulders.

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Tender Mercies Movie Review…………………………………………………………………………………

Tender Mercies is sometimes too slow and uneventful and definitely too simplistic at times. I wished that it had more dialogue of substance and more emotion in its first half. It is still solidly paced as it flows well, it is very well directed and it is well shot too. I have to say that the soundtrack is excellent and even though I don’t quite like country music, I really liked these songs and they transport you really well into its setting. The film is quite atmospheric when you think about it. I don’t know if it deserved to win Best Original Screenplay, but the nods for director and song Over You were very much deserved as both are great.

Tender Mercies does have sparse dialogue, overly simplistic approach at first and the characterization should have been stronger, but Robert Duvall is very good in his Oscar winning performance, the direction is also strong, the film’s soundtrack is excellent and it is a story that seems too simple and uneventful at first, but when you think about, it actually has a lot of deep themes in it such as love, death and religion plus the ending is quite satisfying and moving.

My Rating – 4

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Posted in 1980s, 1983, Drama, FILM DECADES, MOVIE REVIEWS and tagged , , , , , , .

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