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Updated: Apr 8, 2023

Despite the many big names in cast and crew, The Tender Bar barely uses a compelling visual language to tell its bland story.

You cannot build an entire movie merely on nostalgia: if there is one point The Tender Bar proves, it's that.

Based on a memoir by writer J.R. Moehringer the picture recounts his youth on Long Island, and specifically his bond with his bar-owning uncle. Yet while director George Clooney and writer William Monaghan infuse the film with warm characters and affectionate period detail, they mostly skip compelling drama or intriguing character development, resulting in a flick that – despite the many big names in cast and crew - could easily be mistaken for a run-of-the-mill Sunday afternoon TV movie.

The Tender Bar doesn't contain a single surprising development, is devoid of any real obstacles and barely uses a visual language at all to tell the story. Ben Affleck is a bit of a saving grace as the charming mentoring uncle, but even he mostly relies on familiar tropes to flesh out the character.

So while The Tender Bar might be a good substitute for the radio while you're doing the ironing, don't expect it to keep your attention for long even then.

release: 2022

director: George Clooney

starring: Ben Affleck, Tye Sheridan, Daniel Ranieri, Lily Rabe


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