A neighborhood pub in Manhasset, Long Island, becomes a second home for a fatherless boy in The Tender Bar, a poignant and inspiring coming-of-age story directed by George Clooney. J.R. (Tye Sheridan and Daniel Ranieri), whose father disappeared from his life before he was old enough to speak, moves into his grandfather’s dilapidated house after he and his mother (Lily Rabe) once again hit hard times.
Under the unconventional tutelage of his Uncle Charlie (Ben Affleck), a charismatic, self-educated bartender, and a handful of the bar’s colorful regulars, J.R. grows into a young man determined to fulfill his dream of becoming a writer in this fiercely funny and blazingly honest adaptation of J.R. Moehringer’s bestselling memoir.
In 1972, 9-year-old J.R. Maguire (Daniel Ranieri, later Tye Sheridan) spends hours scanning the airwaves for The Voice, his name for the radio deejay father who deserted him and his mom years earlier. As he dreams of the day when they can be reunited, he and his fiercely protective mother Dorothy (Lily Rabe) live with her family in his curmudgeonly grandfather’s (Christopher Lloyd) rundown house in Manhasset, Long Island, both working tirelessly to fulfill her dream of an Ivy League education for J.R.
Hungry for male attention, the boy finds comfort at the nearby Dickens pub, where the man behind the bar is his Uncle Charlie (Ben Affleck). A self-educated truth-seeker with a closet full of classic books and a thirst for knowledge, Charlie takes the boy under his wing, encouraging J.R.’s aspirations of becoming a writer. As J.R. grows to young adulthood with sporadic contact with his birth father, Charlie guides him through the mysteries of manhood and includes him in bowling nights, ball games and trips to the beach with his loyal band of quirky friends.
But when winning a scholarship to Yale, falling in love with a brilliant and beautiful classmate and getting his dream job still don’t seem like enough to J.R., he retreats once more to the bar, only to discover he already had everything he needed in order to claim his own dreams. Directed by George Clooney, The Tender Bar captures the heartache, vulnerability and humor of a boy’s struggle to become a man. Watch the lovely trailer below:
And there’s a poster of course:
“Growing up in Kentucky, which is nothing like Manhasset, I had an Uncle George who I was named after. He lived above a really beat-up old bar. When I was 9 or 10 years old, which is the exact time period in which the early part of the movie is set, he’d give me 50 cents to go get him cigarettes from the machine and a can of beer. So I grew up in and around a bar like the bar in the film, with all the wild characters that called me ‘kid,’” says Clooney.
The Tender Bar is directed by two-time Oscar-winner Clooney (Good Night, and Good Luck, The Ides of March) from a screenplay by Oscar-winner William Monahan (The Departed, The Gambler) and adapted from the memoir by Pulitzer Prize-winning writer J.R. Moehringer (Resurrecting the Champ).
The film stars Ben Affleck (Argo, Good Will Hunting), Tye Sheridan (Mud, The Card Counter), Lily Rabe (Miss Stevens, American Horror Story), Christopher Lloyd (Back to the Future, I Am Not a Serial Killer), Max Martini (13 Hours, The Order), Rhenzy Feliz (Runaways, American Horror Stories), Briana Middleton (Augustus, Sharper), Max Casella (The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel, Jackie), Sondra James (Sick of It, Joker), Michael Braun (The Sinner, The Affair) and newcomer Daniel Ranieri.
The producers are George Clooney, Oscar winner Grant Heslov (Argo, Good Night, and Good Luck) and Ted Hope (The Ice Storm, Martha Marcy May Marlene). Executive producers are Barbara A. Hall (Big Little Lies, The Ides of March) and J.R. Moehringer. The director of photography is Martin Ruhe (The Midnight Sky, Catch-22). Production designer is Kalina Ivanov (Grey Gardens, Lovecraft Country). Costume designer is Jenny Eagan (Olive Kitteridge, Knives Out). The film is edited by Tanya M. Swerling (“Defending Jacob,” “Cinderella”). The composer is Dara Taylor (Barb and Star Go to Vista Del Mar, Colewell).
Amazon Studios will release The Tender Bar in LA & NY theaters December 17th, 2021. In theaters nationwide December 22nd, 2021. Globally on Amazon Prime Video January 7th, 2022