Friday, January 7, 2022

The Tender Bar

Adapted from the memoir of J. R. Moehringer, The Tender Bar is a comfortable warm sweater wrapping up the childhood and college life of JR (played by Tye Sheridan and Daniel Ranieri) and his colorful family, most notably his Uncle Charlie (Ben Affleck) in whose bar he learned as much about life as four years at Yale.

Directed by George Clooney, The Tender Bar isn't great drama, nor outrageous comedy, but it's a light and breezy look at a young man's life who would be raised by his mother (Lily Rabe), in the often-overflowing home of his grandfather (Christopher Lloyd), and his uncle who would instill in him a love of books leading to his eventual profession. With solid performances and some witty narration by Ron Livingston as an older, and perhaps wiser, version of JR, The Tender Bar doesn't ask much of the audience other than to enjoy a good story.

The Tender Bar is... okay. In fact, it's one of the most okay movies of 2021. While I think Clooney and the cast likely had higher aspirations for the project, that isn't a dig. It's an enjoyable film that I could easily see playing on cable and various streaming platforms for decades. Skipping over JR's adolescence, and not digging too deeply into darker family drama involving his absentee father (Max Martini) whose voice haunts JR from the radio, the movie certainly leaves some fertile ground undisturbed while delivering a more affable tale.

Watch the trailer
  • Title: The Tender Bar
  • IMDb: link

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