The drama has many subjects that it covers but the highlight is the beautiful bond he shares with his uncle Charlie, played by Ben Affleck. Affleck's performance as a cool uncle is so fun and impeccable that it makes you wish for an uncle like him.
The tender bar
The film is a story of a young boy JR Moehringer who looks for a father figure in people he meets as his father disappears shortly after his birth. He develops a close bond with his uncle and customers at the Dicken's bar, run by his uncle. The story is based on the 2005 memoir of the same name by J. R. Moehringer. Directed by George Clooney, the film stars Ben Affleck, Tye Sheridan, Lily Rabe, Christopher Lloyd and Daniel Ranieri.
The film narrates the life of JR Moehringer as he sets on a path to discover himself in life. Though he always knew he wanted to be a writer, he ends up going to Yale for further studies as per his mother's wishes. The people he meets in life become characters in his story. In one of the scenes, his girlfriend's father asks him what does he study and JR Moehringer responds, 'I study people'. That was quite intriguing.
The story is narrated by future JR Moehringer. It opens with the young JR Moehringer moving in at his grandfather's house as he gets kicked out of the house with his mother for not being able to pay rent for months.
The casting of the film is amazing. Christopher Lloyd as the Grandpa is annoying at the same time, a sweetheart. He considers taking care of his family a burden but he loves them too. When JR Moehringer's school organises a breakfast day with father, he volunteers to go with the boy. He drives him to and back from school and tells him not to tell anybody that he is a good grandfather because everyone would want one then. The sweet gesture and line will bring a smile to your face. The climax with JR Moehringer getting his father arrested for abusive behaviour does take one by surprise. Until the end, he is seen giving chances to his father, hoping that he'd return to him but he sees that his father is living with another family whom he completely disregards and treats badly, JR Moehringer finds the courage to stand up against him, which is very impressive. Until that scene, he is shown only as a mellow and naive person and hence, it gives you a feel-good factor when he yells at his father and asks him to shut up.
The drama has many subjects that it covers but the highlight is the beautiful bond JR Moehringer shares with his uncle Charlie, played by Ben Affleck. Affleck's performance as a cool uncle is so fun and impeccable that it makes you wish for an uncle like him. Charlie is the father figure to JR Moehringer and he learns all 'man science' from him, including respecting women. The scenes at the bar where Charlie appears like a proud uncle of the prodigy are sure to strike a chord with you. Charlie and all the patrons at the bar celebrate each success of JR Moehringer, making it a delight to watch. However, it kind of promotes the idea that women are gold diggers and a man can get a woman only if he has a job and owns a car, which may not go down well with everyone. But since, it is based on a memoir and set in earlier times, one can understand the mindset of people and let it pass. The performances and the events beautifully chronicled in the narrative will override the other small errors.
Though the film talks about abuse, abandonment and romantic failures, it does so in a very subtle manner with a slightly dark tone being used throughout the narrative. There is nothing stupendously great about the film, which will make you go gaga about it, but it sure makes for a decent and light-hearted watch.
The film is a coming-of-age drama that offers a beautiful tale of a boy and his bond with his uncle Charlie. Though it does not excite you completely, it also does not disappoint you. It's a delicate and thoughtful film that you can watch for a feel-good factor.
The Tender Bar is streaming on Amazon Prime.