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USA 1982
Directed by
Bruce Beresford
87 minutes
Rated PG

Reviewed by
Bernard Hemingway
4 stars

Tender Mercies

Robert Duvall won a Best Actor Oscar for his performance as a burnt-out country-and-western singer, Mac Sledge, and writer Horton Foote picked up one for the best screenplay and, for once, I've got to agree with the Academy.

The film deals with material that evidently Duvall knows something about, doing all his own singing and even writing a couple of the songs besides co-producing with Foote. The result is, together with his very different role as the Corleone's consigliore, his most memorable work, a touching redemption story delivered in a low-key mode by the cast and Australian colleagues, director Beresford and his cinematographer Russell Boyd delivering fine work.  The latter two, no doubt drawing on their own experience in their sunburnt homeland, together do good service to Foote's telling portrait of life in the Texas flatlands.  My only reservation is the casting of Ellen Barkin as Sledge's daughter. Not only is she too old (going on 30 playing 18,) but she has an unmistakable "urban" quality that suits her typical roles but is incongruous in what is otherwise a convincing portrait of a certain Southern milieu.




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