The Tender Bar: a very soft George Clooney [critique]

A year after his Netflix film Midnight in the Universe, Clooney emerges at Amazon with this divested coming-of-age story in which Ben Affleck plays Will Hunting again.

After Welcome to Suburbicon and Midnight in the universe, The Tender Bar is the third film in a row directed by George Clooney to be told at the height of a child – the counter psychoanalyst and the celebrity columnist in us will see there the consequence of the recent fatherhood of the star, who became a dad in 2017. This “Amazon Original” broadly reconstructs the 70s and 80s to tell the story of the birth of the writer’s vocation of JR Moehringer, journalist winner of the Pullitzer Prize. Our young hero (played in turn by Daniel Ranieri and Tye Sheridan) grows up in a chaotic, penniless, but loving family. His alcoholic father being with absent subscribers, the child chooses as his substitute father figure his adorable uncle Charlie (Ben Affleck), a bartender keen on literature – we quickly suspect that little JR will end up living off his pen, since we are watching a film adapted from his memoirs.

To tell the truth, not much is happening in this Tender bar totally devoid of dramatic tension, its wallowing indolently in the clichés of the initiatory story with nostalgic accents. This is certainly not the first time that Clooney has missed a movie, but we had never seen him so absent, extinct, disinterested. Friend Ben Affleck takes charge of running the house, in a familiar job as a proletarian with a heart of gold who helps those he loves to escape social determinism, modeled on the memory of Will hunting. The kind of warm, relaxed performance that he can deliver with his eyes closed.

The Tender Bar, with Ben Affleck, Tye Sheridan, Daniel Ranieri… Duration: 1 h 44. Available on Prime Video.

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