Both George Clooney and Ben Affleck have used their clout to tell stories of hard hitting importance, with a very human angle, like their Academy Award winning collaboration Argo. Their latest project, The Tender Bar, is both very fitting of their focus, but also kind of outside their wheelhouse. Instead of tackling a sweeping political or historical story, the Amazon original is an adaptation author J.R. Moehringer’s memoir about growing up around his bartender uncle. Not only does this film look like a fantastic melding of Clooney and Affleck’s powers as creatives, but I’m ready to bring my tissues after this trailer.
The first look at The Tender Bar was released by Amazon’s Prime Video, and it shows a family dramedy with an amazing cast. Ben Affleck plays Uncle Charlie, who gives J.R. all the advice he could need from the father that left. Tending bar, and dishing out lessons, Charlie and J.R. bond, which helps the young man grow into a college bound aspiring writer (Tye Sheridan.) Set to Paul Simon’s “Me and Julio Down by the Schoolyard,” this formula feels warm and cozy; but George Clooney’s take definitely has its own unique charms.
While The Tender Bar absolutely walks the path of the many family mentoring stories we’ve seen in the past, there’s a real charm in Ben Affleck’s Uncle Charlie that moves past just being the stock voice of encouragement. Plus, the fact that the film is set partially in a neighborhood bar distances The Tender Bar from a more Disney friendly version of events. As this is a film adapted by the Academy Award winning pen of William Monahan, who won his trophy for The Departed, you can bet there’s some colorful language not on display in this trailer.
Most of all, The Tender Bar kind of reinforces the shift that George Clooney has been making as a director. Between this and last year’s The Midnight Sky, Clooney has found himself moving towards more family themed storytelling, and at two of the largest streaming studios in town. With Netflix and now Amazon Prime Video under his belt, George Clooney brings his unique style to a still growing medium. And with a cast that includes Ben Affleck, Tye Sheridan, Lily Rabe, and Christopher Lloyd, The Tender Bar might just inspire more performers and creators to help grow the landscape of streaming entertainment even further.
Slated for a December release in theaters, The Tender Bar is absolutely positioning itself for some of that awards glory. Boasting three Academy Award winners in its ranks, this Prime Video original is being presented as exactly the type of movie that’s going to be talked about quite a bit at the end of this year. A charming Ben Affleck in front of the camera, and a steady-handed George Clooney behind it, makes for a powerful combination that should have their fans ready to see The Tender Bar in action. Now if only we could get the two of them on the same side of the camera.
The Tender Bar will go into select theatrical release on December 17th, with Prime Video debuting the film on streaming as of January 7th, 2022. So if you’re in a yearly Oscar betting pool, you’ll have two different ways to check this one out. Speaking of which, don’t forget to check out the 2021 release schedule, to see what else is coming to a theater near you through the rest of the year.
CinemaBlend's James Bond (expert). Also versed in Large Scale Aggressors, time travel, and Guillermo del Toro. He fights for The User.
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