Tender Mercies (1983)
Directed by Bruce Beresford / Starring Robert Duvall
A country singer named Mac Sledge – and if that isn’t a name of a country singer, I don’t know what is – a drunk and out of money and luck, shows up at a small motel and gas station in the plains of Texas. All is grassland and sun and sky, as far as the eye can see. There’s only a young woman and her ten-year-old son who live at the place. She’s a widow. The boy she married when she was still in her teens was killed in Vietnam, when their child was a baby. Outdoors you can always hear the rush of the wind, as it’s a lonely land, impressive in a stark and austere way, and even beautiful. The widow (Tess Harper) and the man struggling to come back into a human life (Robert Duvall, who won an Oscar for his role) fall in love, quietly, almost without words, and they marry. That is not the end of the story, but the beginning.
If this film were being shot now, you can bet that when several young men one day show up at the gas station in their beat-up truck, and look around …
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