The Tender Bar, a movie adaptation of a 2005 memoir by JR Moehringer, is now out for the masses. The 1 hour 46 minutes film is directed by George Clooney with a screenplay by William Monahan. The film stars Ben Affleck (Uncle Charlie), Tye Sheridan (JR Moehringer), Daniel Ranieri (young JR), Ron Livingston (future JR, Lily Rabe (Dorothy Moehringer), Christopher Lloyd (Grandpa Moehringer), Max Martini (The Voice), Briana Middleton (Sidney).
The synopsis reads, “From director George Clooney and based on the best-selling memoir, The Tender Bar follows an aspiring writer (Tye Sheridan) pursuing his romantic and professional dreams. From a stool in his uncle’s (Ben Affleck) bar, he learns what it means to grow up from a colorful group of local characters.”
Amazon Prime’s The Tender Bar Review Contains No Spoilers
Set in the 1970s, in The Tender Bar, JR and his mother Dorothy get separated from his father, The Voice. The mother-son duo has no choice but to live with his grandfather and Uncle Charlie. While Uncle Charlie is quite welcoming, his grandpa and mom seem to have some issues. JR has never been in a proper family before. Hence, the big change in his life doesn’t affect him. He’s, in fact, happy to belong somewhere.
Uncle Charlie, who runs The Dickens Bar, plays a great influence in JR’s life. From teaching him the man’s code to giving him an idea to be the writer, Charlie is a catalyst that makes his nephew’s life better. The future JR, a writer, narrates the story. In the one hour 46 minutes, we witness JR’s journey as a kid, student at Yale and adult life.
George Clooney’s The Tender Bar has a wonderful 70s setting regarding how the characters talk, their appearances, clothing and conversations. William and George take no time to establish the plot and tell us that this is the story of JR and Charlie. The first 35 minutes are nicely scripted and executed. The film hits the notes right, whether it is the bar scenes with Charlie or JR’s anticipation to meet someone.
When the narrative shifts to Yale, you see less of Charlie and more of JR Moehringer. Everything that occurs during the university years is hurried and has no major effect. Everything is just presented on the layer, whether it’s JR’s relationship with his buddies or his romantic life. As a viewer, you’re disinterested in what’s going on with JR. The Yale plot drags and loses charm.
The adult phase where JR works on his writer dreams and tries to come to life is also weakly established. It’s disappointing to see the story getting weaker and weaker till the end. Even the peppy songs don’t bring life and energy to the story.
Coming to performance, Ben Affleck is a delight to watch as Uncle Charlie. Ben’s performance as a man who loves drinking and is a bibliophile makes you admire Uncle Charlie. Actor Tye Sheridan earnestly plays JR Moehringer. But he deserves a solid and interesting script to have us concerned about his character.
Amazon Prime Video’s The Tender Bar Review: Final Thoughts
Overall, The Tender Bar on Amazon Prime Video is average. Ben Affleck is good, but the story lacks vibrancy. JR, the film’s central character, has no depth due to the rushed screenplay.
The film is now streaming on Prime Video.Instagram & Facebook to keep yourself updated with the latest news and reviews.