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Rated 3.05 stars
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ReelTalk Movie Reviews
Nostalgia Attack
by Betty Jo Tucker

Watching The Tender Bar made me feel nostalgic. Itís about a youngster and his relationship with an uncle who owns a bar. Coincidentally, I spent the early days of my childhood living in the back of a bar my grandma owned. And one of the bartenders took on extra duties as a baby sitter. We got along with each other as well as with some colorful patrons of the establishment. That bartender wasnít my uncle but he behaved like one! No wonder this charming film took me back to those early days of yore.

A big surprise in The Tender Bar involves a splendid performance by Ben Affleck. Itís his best work ever, in my opinion. Although his role is a supporting one, his imperfect but helpful character anchors the movie and makes everything seem real.

Uncle Charlie, a caring man,

helps his nephew as best he can.

 The boy admires him and why not?

Good Uncle Charlie knows a lot.

 

Ben Affleck in this uncle role

  reaches top of his acting goal. 

He shows compassion and a heart

with playfulness plus lots of smart.

 

Uncle Charlie owns Tender Bar

 as well as a Cadillac car.

Some patrons seem more like close friends.

 But thatís not where the story ends.

 

Nephew grows up and wants to write.

Uncle Charlie does what is right.

Heartwarming story feels like gold.

A lovely movie so well told.   

Based on the memoir of JR Moehringer and adapted for the screen by William Monahan, this coming-of-age story is directed by George Clooney and focuses on the nephew/uncle relationship from JRís childhood through his young adult years. Fortunately, two actors do these roles almost perfectly. Daniel Ranieri plays the thoughtful youngster and Tye Sheridan portrays the older JR who has to deal with college, love, his writing ambition and his place in the world as an adult. (But how I wish the resemblance of these two would have been more in tune.)

Others in the cast also impressed me. Lily Rabe as JRís young looking mother and Max Martini as his dad who is missing most of the time make us angry while convincing us they are real people. And although we also shake our heads a little about the Tender Barís male-bonding patrons (Max Casella, Michael Braun, Matthew Delamater) and their actions, they liven things up for viewers.         .  

Thanks to everyone connected with The Tender Bar for reminding me of my early days at the Cosmopolitan Club (aka Donahueís) in Pueblo, Colorado.

(Released by Amazon Studios and rated ďRĒ for language throughout and some sexual content.) 


                                                                                                                                                                               
 
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