Tender Mercies ★★★★

*Trolley's Retro Reviews #8*

Hearty cheers to Australian director Bruce Beresford for this outstanding Hollywood debut (based on Horton Foote's simple and effective screenplay); a small film with a big heart of gold about a has-been, drunken Country & Western singer (Robert Duvall) who reclaims his self-respect when he marries a shy Texan widow (Tess Harper). Duvall's staggeringly good Oscar-winning performance is strong and subtle, projecting an honest grittiness. Harper is also outstanding in her first screen role, and the supporting players are, without exception, near-perfect. lt's a compassionate and dignified portrait of loneliness, hope, and the tender mercies that help people deal with their lives.

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