"Moments of Laughter, Warmth and Practical Wisdom"
What You Need To Know:
Actor George Clooney does a nice job directing this rambling movie. There’s enough humor, conflict and warmth to keep things entertaining and captivating. Ben Affleck gives an appealing performance as Uncle Charlie. THE TENDER BAR contains funny, heartwarming moments, plus words of wisdom. However, it has a Romantic, non-religious worldview where the main character pursues personal dreams. Despite the college scenes, THE TENDER BAR takes place in a blue collar world with lots of strong foul language. Also, the main character has an off and on sexual affair with a beautiful rich girl. So, MOVIEGUIDE® advises extreme caution.
THE TENDER BAR is a well-acted drama set in the 1970s and 80s about a boy abandoned by his father and living with his mother at his grandparents’ house on Long Island, where his mother’s bar-owning brother becomes his surrogate father as he grows up, graduates from Yale and sets out for New York City to be a writer. THE TENDER BAR has many moments of laughter and heart, plus some words of practical wisdom, but the movie’s perspective is nonreligious and contains constant foul language, other crude language and an ongoing affair with a girl the boy meets at Yale.
The movie opens with a young man, J R, traveling on a train to interview for Yale University. J R is looking back on the time when, at the age of nine, he and his mother had to move back to his grandfather’s house on Long Island when they got five months behind on their rent. His brother’s brother, Uncle Charlie, takes little J R under his wing and starts teaching him about life and how to be a man. Charlie, who owns a bar called The Dickens, after the famous English writer, tells him to get a car, never hit a woman even if she stabs you with scissors, don’t put your money in your shirt pocket, and take care of your mother. Charlie notices that J R isn’t cut out for sports, but when J R tells him he likes to read, they decide he should be a writer.
J R makes it into Yale with a full scholarship. The first day, he meets a beautiful freshman girl named Sidney. However, J R doesn’t fit in with her rich parents. So, Sidney moves on to others, even though she and J R sometimes hook up. J R still pines for her, though, and thinks that if he climbs the ladder of success as a journalist, she’ll come back to him.
After working for a time at the New York Times and failing to snag a permanent writing job there, J R decides to track down his undependable father, a radio disc jockey who moves from job to job, to get some closure.
Actor George Clooney does a nice job directing this rambling movie. There’s enough humor, conflict and warmth to keep the story entertaining and captivating. Ben Affleck gives a very appealing performance as the kindly, loquacious Uncle Charlie. He’s firmly in J R’s corner and wants him to succeed, and his attitude catches the viewer’s heart. The male patrons at Charlie’s bar are also firmly in J R’s corner, though they rib him from time to time.
THE TENDER BAR has many moments of laughter and heart, plus some words of practical wisdom. However, it has a Romantic, non-religious worldview where the main character pursues personal dreams. J R is plagued by self-doubt. So, when the Times editors decide he needs more journalistic experience at a lower level, that’s when he decides to track down his father, even though it’s clear Uncle Charlie has been an inspiring surrogate father who’s been a better replacement.
Despite the scenes set at Yale, THE TENDER BAR takes place in a blue collar, masculine world. So, there’s a lot of strong foul language, including many “f” words. Also, the main character has an off and on sexual affair with the beautiful rich girl. So, MOVIEGUIDE® advises extreme caution.
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