Find romance, renewal in CFS’ ‘Tender’ movie

Danielle LaMonaca

The film “Tender Mercies” revolves around a once-successful country-western songwriter, Mac Sledge, played by Robert Duvall. Mac is an alcoholic whose drinking destroyed his career and his marriage, forcing him to leave his wife, a well-known singer, and their 10-year-old daughter.

Eight years later he meets a young widow, Rosa Lee, who inspires him. Without preaching or condemning Mac for his past mistakes, Rosa Lee inspires him to overcome his alcoholism and resume his country music career.

Mac proves to be a strong character who, after defeating his addiction, manages to stay sober even after his estranged ex-wife and daughter resurface in his life.

This dramatic occurrence causes Mac to experience both good and bad emotions, but, supported by Rosa Lee’s faith in him, he resists falling back into his old, damaging ways.

“Tender Mercies,” although a very simple story, is raw and realistic. What makes the film unique are the combined talents of screenwriter Horton Foote, who also wrote the script for “To Kill a Mockingbird,” director Bruce Beresford, who’d go on to make “Driving Miss Daisy,” and star Robert Duvall, who won a Best Actor Oscar for this role. (By the way, Duvall wrote and sings all of his songs in the film.)

Unlike most Hollywood films dealing with this topic, there is nothing sensational about “Tender Mercies.” Instead, the film unfolds in a simple manner, with no unnecessary dialogue or redundant scenes.

Also, the characters in the film seem like real people; that is, they experience genuine emotions, such as love, desperation, confusion and, in Mac’s case, addiction. In addition, the characters all try to learn from life, although not all of them succeed.

This acclaimed movie, first released in 1983, must be seen. It received five Academy Award nominations, and in addition to Duvall’s acting award, Horton Foote received an Oscar for Best Original Screenplay.

“Tender Mercies” is the next film in the current Cultural Film and Lecture Studies, “Isn’t It Romantic?” It will be shown four times in the Connelly Center Cinema:, Nov. 12 at 7 p.m., Nov. 13 at 3:30 and 7 p.m., and Nov. 14 at 7 p.m. Admission is $3.50 for students who bring their I.D. and $5 for all others.

Guest speaker Jim Kirschke will be leading a discussion on “Gathering the Pieces of Your Life,” as well as providing an intro to the film on Monday night only. He will give viewers a chance to ask questions and also give us a deeper understanding of the film.

For more information on “Tender Mercies” or any of the other films playing this semester call X9-4750 on weekdays between 9 p.m. and 5 p.m., or refer to the CFS web site: