THE TENDER BAR
Starring: Ben Affleck, Tye Sheridan, Daniel Ranieri, Ron Livingston, Lily Rabe, Christopher Lloyd, Max Martini, Sondra James, and Briana Middleton
Director: George Clooney
After The Monuments Men and The Midnight Sky, I wasn't sure George Clooney could regain the directorial flair I saw in Good Night, and Good Luck. The Tender Bar proved me wrong. Clooney draws pitch-perfect performances out of all his actors, making the dynamic between Ben Affleck and Tye Sheridan the emotional core of the film. The script uses just enough humour to take the edge off some of the more painful moments in the film, and my inner film student was thrilled to see such clean, efficient editing. The Tender Bar is altogether a funny, gut wrenching package.
The Tender Bar doesn’t break any new ground, but that doesn’t mean it’s not a charming little coming-of-age tale. Admittedly, it would not be near as good if it weren’t for Ben Affleck carrying every scene he’s in, but his subtly terrific performance covers for the more formulaic and saccharine story beats. All other aspects of the film, from the direction to the acting, are never worse than workmanlike or better than competently done, but I still found myself swept up in the story despite its general unremarkability. The excellent soundtrack carried a lot of weight towards that end too.