Tenderness / La Tendresse


Director: Marion Hänsel
Cast: Olivier Gourmet, Marilyne Canto, Adrien Jolivet, Margaux Chatelier
Country: Belgium, 2012
Genre: Drama / Comedy
Duration: 81 minutes
Rating: M – low level offensive language

A film of small moments and grand themes, Marion Hänsel’s delicate and heartfelt road movie Tenderness brings a long-divorced couple back together, as they put their differences aside to help their only child, hospitalized in France following a ski accident.  

Separated for 15 years, 50-somethings Frans (Olivier Gourmet) and Lisa (Marilyne Canto) immediately drop everything when they hear news that their son Jack (Adrien Jolivet) has been injured while skiing with his new girlfriend. Needing to collect both Jack and his car, they set off for the day-long drive from Brussels to the French resort of Flaine. There is little animosity between the two – they have clearly kept in touch – but as the journey commences, old irritations and habits begin to surface. What do they still feel for each other? Indifference, rancour, jealousy? Or perhaps complicity, friendship… and, who knows, love?  
Tenderness, true to its title, isn’t a tale of conflict or overblown drama, rather a compassionate and often funny depiction of love and affection. Beautifully shot in cinemascope and featuring charming performances, this is a simple but profound story of the good that can happen when people care about each other, and the joy of time well spent in the company of family, even those that have been separated by time, distance and difference.