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Parents' Guide to

The Tender Bar

By Tara McNamara, Common Sense Media Reviewer

age 15+

Poignant coming-of-age dramedy has language, sex.

Movie R 2021 104 minutes
The Tender Bar Poster Image

A Lot or a Little?

What you will—and won't—find in this movie.

Community Reviews

age 16+

Based on 2 parent reviews

age 14+


Affleck was good - the little boy was darling with his big black eyes! He made you stay interested. When they replaced him as he grew up with a blue eyed actor - who can't act - it really ruined the movie. The grandfather ruined every scene he was in. It was as if Clooney just took a pay check and put no energy into this saga that's been told a million times - but when you replace a cute dark eyed little boy with a blue eyed teenager - did you think we weren't going to notice?! WE DESERVE BETTER THAN THIS VERY SLOW POINTLESS MOVIE!

This title has:

Too much consumerism
age 18+

Watch something else

I wonder if George Clooney and Ben Affleck’s children will be allowed to watch this? The fact that they applaud the non actor little kid they brought on based on his ability to spew curse words on was it Tik Tok? Says enough . . . sad exploitation. It’s not “cute” or “funny” guys. Would you think it was if coming out of your kids’ mouths? Hypocrisy again. Remember George - kids are kids and need protecting right? There have been so many redeeming time worthy films about coming of age and various family situations without useless language that only distracts from the story/message.

This title has:

Too much swearing
Too much drinking/drugs/smoking

Is It Any Good?

Our review:
Parents say (2 ):
Kids say (1 ):

This poignant coming-of-age story shows that life is a cocktail of lessons that, when stirred, helps you grow up right. Advice pours faster than the drinks at Uncle Charlie's bar, and, just like a shot of aged barrel whiskey, some of that advice goes down a little rough, but the overall takeaway is smooth. JR's influences come from the many people he encounters: A priest (Billy Meleady) he meets on a train, the regulars who frequent Charlie's bar, his put-upon grandfather (Christopher Lloyd), his handwringing mother (Rabe), his Yale roommate (Rhenzy Feliz), and, of course, his revered Uncle Charlie (Affleck, in a career-defining role). JR is also shaped by behaviors, trying to figure out who he is since his family makes it clear that he shouldn't follow in the footsteps of the man he's named after: his largely absent father (Max Martini).

As much as the advice dispensed in the movie is directed at a preteen boy, the messages are intended to reach adults, too. JR says, "When you're 11 years old, you want an Uncle Charlie." As we only see JR's memories from his own perspective, Charlie is essentially God. In JR's 11-year-old eyes, Charlie is the epitome of cool: He speaks about life with authority, drives a muscle car, does well with the ladies, leads his barside community, and dominates in a game of duckpins. But director George Clooney leaves breadcrumbs for viewers to realize that Charlie doesn't quite have it as together as JR believes. The Tender Bar is meant to be a like a night out: You sip the experience, you yammer about it, and you're left with great memories to reflect on later.

Movie Details

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