The Tender Bar
Release Date: January 7, 2022
Run Time: 1 hour & 46 minutes
Reviewed By: Edwina
“In 1972, 9-year-old J.R. Maguire (Daniel Ranieri & Tye Sheridan) moves into his grandfather’s dilapidated house in Long Island, N.Y. Searching for a father figure, he falls under the unconventional tutelage of his uncle Charlie (Ben Affleck), a charismatic, self-educated bartender who introduces him to a handful of the bar’s colorful regulars. As the years pass and J.R. grows into a young man, he tries to fulfill his dream of becoming a writer.“
I heard Ben Affleck being interviewed about this movie and it piqued my interest. When my friend told me that she had read the book seven times because the story is so beautiful, I knew I had to put it at the top of my list. I’m so glad I did! Based on the memoir written by journalist J.R. Moehringer, it’s the realistic story of a father’s absence in a young boy’s life and how that affects him over time.
JR is blessed with a loving mother and her supportive, but dysfunctional family, one of which is “Uncle Charlie.” Uncle Charlie (Ben Affleck) is a well read, self educated man, who owns The Dickens Bar. He is loud, fun, and full of great, simple advice. He takes JR under his wing and creates another family for him, which is made up of friends and bar patrons. We watch as JR grows and ultimately reaches the family goal of attending Yale. JR’s father, a radio DJ, pops in and out of his life and each and every time, he is a complete disappointment. Uncle Charlie is always there to pick up the pieces. He is loving, but doesn’t sugarcoat anything.
This cast was great! Not only Affleck, but even characters such as Lily Rabe (the mother), Christopher Lloyd (the grandfather), Tye Sheridan (JR in his college years), and Daniel Ranieri (JR in his childhood years) to name a few, made a wonderful ensemble cast.
I especially loved the narration of the movie (done by Ron Livingston – JR as an adult). It gave the movie a warm and nostalgic feeling, reminiscent of A Christmas Story. So much of this movie was enjoyable. The story, although sad, had many humorous moments. The cast was great and I loved singing along to the soundtrack of great songs from the 70’s and 80’s.
Definitely see this if you can, you won’t be disappointed. And don’t leave before the credits, there are great scenes throughout the roll.