The Tender Bar (2021) – Review

Junior (Tye Sheridan) is a boy growing up on Long Island, seeking to find a father figure to replace the one that abandoned him shortly after birth as well as doing his best to please the rest of his family. Spending a large amount of time at his uncle’s bar, Junior begins to listen closely to all the patrons and their stories, learning on a daily basis before leaving for Yale University and becoming a writer. An easy to watch and relaxed drama that is currently streaming on Amazon Prime Video.

Rating: 4 out of 5.

Director: George Clooney
Writers: William Monahan, J.R. Moehringer
Starring: Ben Affleck, Tye Sheridan, Daniel Ranieri

Having had its world premiere during the London Film Festival on October 10, 2021, The Tender Bar received a very limited release in December of the same year, before hitting Amazon Prime Video in January of 2022. Directed by George Clooney, this coming-of-age flick was based on the memoir written by J.R. Moehringer, originally published in 2005.

Set across the United States in the 1970’s and 1980’s, this calm and profound drama, with strong elements of romance injected too, manages to take the viewer on a nostalgic look back through the period of time previously mentioned, with some eye-catching cinematography and authentic set design from the first minute until the last. The feel of nostalgia is complimented brilliantly too, by the inclusion of a fitting and old-school soundtrack, that most will appreciate.

There are certain moments of humour included, but there are also moments or frustration and sorrow too, the film manages to take the viewer on a roller-coaster of emotions throughout the one-hundred and six-minute runtime, without any of them packing an overly serious or deadly punch. The tale takes us on a journey of one mans quest to succeed and in turn satisfy his family’s expectations, while also trying to be happy within himself. The filmmakers also do a terrific job in making certain characters seem as deplorable as possible.  

In terms of the cast, Ben Affleck starred as Uncle Charlie, the father-like figure to Junior and somebody that command a fair chunk of screentime, but maybe could have warranted more. Tye Sheridan was responsible for portraying the real time Junior, while it’s also worth noting that Daniel Ranieri portrayed the young Junior. Other noteworthy performances came from Lily Rabe, Christopher Lloyd and Max Martini who adopted the roles of Juniors Mother, Grandfather and absent Father, respectively.

Some regard the opening half of the flick as being superior to the latter, but that’s not so much something I’d side with. The Tender Bar presents a pretty solid drama that doesn’t take itself too seriously, along with the ability to more than likely put a smile on your face from time to time. As previously mentioned, The Tender Bar is now streaming on Amazon Prime Video.

“You’re a writer the minute you say you are.”

Junior – The Tender Bar

1 thought on “The Tender Bar (2021) – Review

  1. Pingback: Hot Summer Nights (2017) – Review | The DC Review Blog – EST. 2020

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