Tenderness explores the different possible tenets of tenderness, as played out by a cast of isolated, disturbed characters whose lives intersect briefly. There is Detective Cristofuoro (Russell Crowe), a cop whose wife is in hospital, and his loving care for her wellbeing is how we’d consider the usual conception of tenderness. He is trailing the recently released teenage murderer Eric Poole (Jon Foster), who is addicted to the tenderness of witnessing his helpless victims’ last breaths. Then there is Lori (Sophie Traub), a young girl who has been sexually molested and who craves another sort of tenderness – the kind that Eric administers.
It’s a strange premise for a film. At the end of an intense and disturbing two hours, RM and I both agreed that the film’s oddness made it intringuing – but it’s just odd enough for me not to recommend it.