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  • Writer's pictureJack Aling

The Tender Bar - Review (London Film Festival 2021)

Every Sentence Is an Educated Guess. 4 / 5

Directed by George Clooney.

J.R. is a fatherless boy growing up in the glow of a bar where the bartender, his Uncle Charlie, is the sharpest and most colorful of an assortment of quirky and demonstrative father figures. J.R. begins to pursue his romantic and professional dreams, with one foot persistently placed in Uncle Charlie’s bar.

The Tender Bar is a warming family drama that is elevated by the chemistry of its fantastic cast.

Following the early life of J.R. Moehringer, this hits all the beats you'd expect from a coming of age biopic. It wouldn’t stand out in the crowd but knows what it is and doubles down with George Clooney using his experience to create a feel-good and entertaining comedy.

Ben Affleck shines as the ever-wise Uncle Charlie but Daniel Ranieri steals the spotlight as a young J.R. as he learns the dos and don'ts of the world through the skewed eyes of his uncle.

As he searches for identity and a fatherly authority figure, J.R. Moehringer's story is filled with laughter and the expected emotions that come with family drama. There's a real communal and inviting feel to the film with Christopher Lloyd's house acting as the centre of this shared universe.

A pleasant surprise that provides life lessons aplenty with quick snappy dialogue and a laid back quality that absorbs you into its compelling world.

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