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  • Writer's pictureSteve

The Tender Bar (2021)

Ooh marmite! There has been opinions about this that have ranged about as far as they can. Some of my peers hated it. I mean, literally would have given it a rating of less than nothing, if less than nothing was possible. In the space of a few paragraphs, some people have gushed liberally all over it, suggesting that this is Clooney's best performance as Director and in the same breath, go as far as to say this is Ben Affleck's best performance full stop.

I have to say I unashamedly loved it. This coming of age drama in Long Island may have, despite the distance, fewer degrees of separation and alot more that I recognised from my own entirely uninteresting upbringing.

This isn't a thrill a minute by any means and anyone expecting such will be disappointed. If you're a Batman fan, you're really in the wrong place. It is considered and beautifully observed, however, with excellent acting performances throughout, especially Affleck who I recently had a pop at for The Last Duel (I know, what was he thinking?) and Tye Sheridan seems almost legitimate, who I have never been a fan of, going some to way to prove the fact that Clooney's direction is on point.

The writing is, as you would expect, first class and this is where the film truly breathes lungful's of wonder into life. It lacks a great deal of excitement and has rightly been classed as too vanilla for some tastes but Clooney dallies effortlessly with the subjects of absent fathers and family values in the blink of an eye without pausing for thought, as if born to it.

This wallows in a soundtrack any film would be proud to have, yet just any film would not be cool enough to do it justice, but Long Island bursts into life with every song chosen. A truly valid character study on more levels than seem at first apparent, this is safe from Clooney, certainly, but he does this with such skill and verve that you cannot but admire every little thing about it. I can't always say I look forward to watching anything again, but I can here.

Highly recommended


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