The film directed by George Clooney and starring Ben Affleck recounts the memoirs of JR Moehringer.
It is George Clooney’s eighth film as a director and has just been released in Amazon Prime Video: The Tender Bar, a coming of age drama that is based on the homonymous memoirs of JR Moehringer, an American journalist and writer, winner of the 2000 Pulitzer Prize, and character main part of this story in which he tells how and why he became a writer.
In the film, three actors bring the author to life at different times in his life -Tye Sheridan, Ron Livingston and Daniel Ranieri-, while the other main character is played by Ben Affleck. The popular interpreter is in charge of playing Moehringer’s uncle, the owner of a bar who, together with his clientele, became the main influence in the life and career of the future author.
The movie, The Tender Bar, is available to Amazon Prime Video subscribers starting today, Friday, January 7, 2022, and the first critics have already given her some praise, praising that she is cute, charming, entertaining and also fun. The less positive ‘reviews’ focus especially on the fact that the story is quite standard and does not offer anything new, but whether it is worth it or not will be something you will have to decide for yourself now that you already have the possibility to see it.
The real story behind ‘the Tender Bar’
In the film we see how a cocktail bar on Long Island ends up becoming the second home of JR, a boy who is left under the tutelage of his Uncle Charlie (Affleck). This is a charismatic and genuine ‘bartender’ who spends most of his life taking care of his business and, as a consequence, the place and the handful of regulars become the main vital references of JR, his young nephew determined to become a novelist.
What is the true story of Moehringer’s childhood? The memoirs signed by the American author begin when he was eight years old, in 1974. His father, a DJ named Johnny Michael had abandoned his mother when he was just a baby and, according to the media NPR, the author would meet several father figures throughout his life. Among them were his uncle and his clientele, a place he refers to as “the only place where he felt safe” and through which he came to feel like a member of a community.
The bar in question was called Dickens and it was located in Manhasset, New York. His home, where he lived with his mother and grandparents, was just a few steps from the place. When JR Moehring started hanging out with him, he was barely 11 years old. As he recalls, he would sit there and have a soda. Meanwhile, her mother was calm, because she trusted her brother: “I think that, in a way, having role models is better than not having role models, with notable exceptions. But still, these guys were better than anyone.” With the passage of time, he began to integrate better with each other.
A novel that became his memoirs
When JR Moehringer’s motivation to be a writer, something pushed by his mother – played on the tape by Lily Rabe – had already materialized, the bar patrons became his inspiration. And he wanted to write about them.
“Sometimes I took notes, but sometimes I didn’t need to because some of the things they said stuck with me when I was a child,” he explained to NPR. “Also many nights I would write things on a cocktail napkin. Or someone would push me past one and say, ‘Write that. What I just said is very funny.”
The first attempt to tell his story did not work because, as he explained, it failed to capture the essence of the place. So Moehringer thought it should be a non-fiction book. Then yes he was born The Tender Bar, the memories that the film adapts.
In The Tender Bar the story of JR Moehringer is told up to the age of 20, including his college days and even getting a job at the New York Times, where he would begin his career as a journalist. You can watch it on Amazon Prime Video.