Tender Mercies

Rated 5.0

Bruce Beresford’s elegant 1983 drama Tender Mercies stars Robert Duvall in the Oscar-winning role of Mac Sledge, a washed-up alcoholic country singer trying to turn his life around. Duvall’s Best Actor victory was a foregone conclusion—he was a repeat loser up against a weak field of four Brits—but that doesn’t dilute the quiet power of his meticulously crafted performance. Sledge is stingy with his words and emotions, but we read his every feeling through the careful details of Duvall’s posture and inflection. Inspired by his new wife, Sledge quits drinking and starts playing music again, which forces him to confront the demons of his past, including the battered ex-wife who still performs his songs. Tender Mercies is a spare film about finding peace in a difficult world, and the home theater is the ideal environment for its subtle beauty.