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Amazon Prime The Tender Bar (2021)

JoeStemme

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Title: The Tender Bar

Tagline: Between the ones who love you and the ones who leave you is the journey of a lifetime.

Genre: Drama

Director: George Clooney

Cast: Ben Affleck, Tye Sheridan, Lily Rabe, Christopher Lloyd, Max Martini, Rhenzy Feliz, Briana Middleton, Max Casella, Sondra James, Michael Braun, Daniel Ranieri, Matthew Delamater, Ivan Leung, Billy Meleady, Danielle Ranieri, Kate Avallone, Mark Boyett, Quincy Tyler Bernstine, Ezra Knight, David Carl, Shannon Collis, Keira Jo Lassor, Jennifer C. Johnson, Michael Steven Costello, Kate Middleton, Jackson Damon, Caroline Bergwall, Daniel Washington, Jenny Eagan, Steve Gagliastro, Annabella Valle, Clara Kelly, Meara Mahoney-Gross, Ron Livingston

Release: 2021-12-17

Runtime: 104

Plot: J.R. is a fatherless boy growing up in the glow of a bar where the bartender, his Uncle Charlie, is the sharpest and most colorful of an assortment of quirky and demonstrative father figures. As the boy’s determined mother struggles to provide her son with opportunities denied to her — and leave the dilapidated home of her outrageous if begrudgingly supportive father — J.R. begins to gamely, if not always gracefully, pursue his romantic and professional dreams, with one foot persistently placed in Uncle Charlie’s bar.

This year's entry in the poor kid who makes it as a writer awards bait entry. Like last year's HILLBILLY ELEGY, George Clooney's movie laddles on the woes and miseries while always trying to assure the audience that it will be all right in the end -- it's a memoir, after all (J.R. Moehringer).

Ben Affleck plays Uncle Charlie (literally “Uncle Charlie”) who becomes a mentor to the author, JR (Daniel Ranieri as a tyke; Tye Sheridan as a college student). Affleck is good here, even if the character is idealized - yes, he's a bartender still living with his father, but he's also wicked smarht! Ranieri is a decent child actor, but Sheridan is more annoying than heroic here. Briana Middleton is winning as JR's on again, off again girlfriend, but one never gets why she's be attracted to him. Lily Rabe and Chrisopher Lloyd do fine, but they are playing cliches.



More crucially, the viewer never gets a true glimpse JR's supposed writing talent. It's all second hand - “that kid's got it!” William Monahan's screenplay plays it safe an to the middle, and Clooney doesn't really give it much style, either.
 

Josh Steinberg

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I disagree about the quality of the film - I loved every moment of it. Set on Long Island in a time period and place very close to the one I grew up in, every character and scenario here is one I’m familiar with - I know all of these types, their dreams and aspirations, their demons and setbacks, their daily routines, and I know the struggle to try to break free of being locked into generational choices.

Affleck gives one of his finest performances here (a lovely counterweight to his equally excellent but much more distraught performance in The Way Back), allowing us a glimpse of someone who maybe could have made more of his life but who has also learned that being comfortable in one’s own skin can be more meaningful than the more prestigious type of success.

This is exactly the kind of movie that many of our forum readers decry as not being made anymore - it turns out they still do make ‘em like this and quite well at that. As usual, Clooney as a director draws outstanding performances from his cast. Even Tye Sheridan, an actor I normally find less charismatic than a 2x4, acquits himself well.

Highly recommended!
 

JoeStemme

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I 'related' too and I grew up 10 minutes from where much of the movie was shot.
I just didn't think it was anything more than mediocre save for some of the performances (Sheridan very much excluded)
 

Bernard McNair

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We watched The Tender Bar last night and loved every minute of it. Great story and very well acted, particularly by Ben Affleck, Lily Rabe and Christopher Lloyd. I thought the soundtrack added interest to the film. We will no doubt watch it again in the future.
 
Movie information in first post provided by The Movie Database

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