Critique de « The Tender Bar » – The Hollywood Reporter – .

Critique de « The Tender Bar » – The Hollywood Reporter – .

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There are no great moments aha in The tender bar. Episodic and intimately scaled, the coming-of-age story takes George Clooney as far from high concept as he went as a director. His eighth feature film is also the warmest film he has made, unlike his previous release, the sci-fi saga. Midnight sky, which was spun from austere backdrops and an icy palette. Focusing on a working-class neighborhood of Long Island town in Manhasset, the new film favors’ 70s earth tones, the faded and smokier they are the better, and it’s alive with messy clashes. and affectionate and bursts of joy.

The story of a writer’s maturity, The tender bar condenses the 2005 bestselling memoir of the same name by journalist JR Moehringer (more recently the negro from Prince Harry’s autobiography). Working from William Monahan’s patchy adaptation, Clooney has a distinct affection for period, setting, and characters, and rightly keeps events filtered through the eyes of JR, first seen at age 9 ( the terribly charismatic Daniel Ranieri) then as a young adult (Tye Sheridan, vigilant and sensitive).

The tender bar

The bottom line

A small-scale charmer with an ace trick from Affleck.

Lieu: London BFI Film Festival

Release date: Friday 17th December

Jeter: Ben Affleck, Tye Sheridan, Lily Rabe, Christopher Lloyd, Daniel Ranieri

Director: George Clooney

Scriptwriter : Guillaume Monahan

Rated R, 1 hour 46 minutes

At its core, the movie is a Valentine’s Day to JR’s Uncle Charlie, the man who steps in to mentor the boy after his biological father turns out to be a deadbeat for MIA. He might be an adult who still lives with his parents, but Charlie accepts his place in the world and makes the most of it. He is the epitome of equanimity, embodied poise, and he’s portrayed by Ben Affleck with beautifully quirky proletarian cuteness, in one of his most revealing performances.

Clooney bolsters the low-key action with contagious vintage rock and pop songs, from Jackson Browne to the Isley Brothers, from “Radar Love” to “Do It Again”. You could say he leans on them, but they can take the brunt of it and they infuse the film with a sense of nostalgia. The tender bar, which begins its US theatrical release in December and launches worldwide on Amazon Prime in early January, is a film that prioritizes sentiment over structure. If he’s struggling to find a rhythm, especially at first, there’s no doubt he’s sending you on a sweet high.

The feature film takes place over a span of approximately 15 years, starting in 1973, when young JR Maguire and his cash-strapped mother (Lily Rabe) come “home” – meaning his childhood home. run-down in Manhasset, still occupied by her irascible father, (Christopher Lloyd), mother (Sondra James, in her last movie role) and Uncle Charlie, and frequently hosting a rowdy collection of visiting cousins. For JR’s mother, the return is proof of her failure. But he is delighted with the change: “I like having people,” notes the future writer, immersing himself in everything.

JR especially enjoys the chance to be around his uncle, who runs a bar at Dickensian, a neighborhood watering hole that he keeps well stocked with books he knows back and forth. Unpretentious authority in this circumscribed world – you might assume he owns the place – Charlie advises JR in “the male sciences”: his well-honed code of how to behave decently towards yourself, women, the man. world. He arouses in the child the desire to be an author and gives measured praise when he produces a family gazette on his manual typewriter.

All the people the boy meets ask “What does JR represent?” That’s a sore point considering that his father, a Top 40 New York disc jockey who is played by Max Martini with a mix of hissing bullying and gruff, pathetic swagger, is the kind of guy who promises. to his son that he will take him to a Mets game, then pick him up. Most of the time he’s missing from JR’s life except as a booming baritone voice on the FM dial. Charlie, on the other hand, is a straight shooter. “Don’t count on your father to save you,” he advises his nephew. And, he adds, based on what he observed of JR’s athletic skills, “Don’t play sports. “

On rare occasions, Grandpa, a former Dartmouth man who has had a hard time, puts aside his general unhappiness to introduce himself to JR as well. It’s an era with a narrow definition of a nuclear family, and it’s no small feat when Grandpa puts on his best duds to join the boy for a father-son breakfast at his school; Lloyd offers glimmers of something soothing in man, as miserable as he looks and acts. But it’s the Dickens, a haunt full of friendly regulars (Max Casella, Michael Braun, Matthew Delamater), that becomes JR’s sanctuary. As a child, he liked the repartee of the barflies and learned their jargon, and as a young man, he gravitated there when he needed advice or reassurance.

Before the film moves on to JR’s college years, Clooney interrupts a few brief scenes of Sheridan traveling on a bus, then a train, where he strikes up a conversation with a priest (Bill Meleady). It takes a distracting minute to relate his character to that of Danieri; there is little physical resemblance between them. But in a tale fueled by feelings of connection, their emotional DNA binds them together. (At one point, the two versions of JR “meet” and it works, the imaginary exchange is neat and without sentimentality.)

In this story of boys and men, women tend to be puzzles, sometimes numbers. JR’s grandmother is a fundamental figure; one of Charlie’s exes (Shannon Collis) introduces himself very briefly; and JR’s mother, a hardworking secretary, is above all a constellation of ambitions for her son. That he attends Yale is less of a wish than an imperative, affectionately expressed as it is. In Rabe’s performance, the character’s motherly devotion is never in doubt, but she is clearly the antithesis of Charlie’s poise and self-confidence. It takes time to see the idealism shared by these different siblings.

When facing a serious health crisis, the event is treated so laconically it’s almost an afterthought. But what initially appears to be a surprisingly awkward filming choice gradually sets in as a reflection of how young JR is experiencing the event, through the limited information the adults give him.

In the Sheridan part of the story, JR goes beyond the Dickens and his troubled home into a world of privilege (Yale, a passage to Le New York Times). These years are shaped by jokes, both philosophical and practical, with his roommate Wesley (Rhenzy Feliz), and mainly by JR’s recurring romance with his first girlfriend, Sydney (Brianna Middleton). In their initial conversation, she is so sophisticated and assertive that it’s hard to believe she’s a college student, let alone a freshman. His casual cruelty becomes the defining model of their relationship. In her radiant opening to Sydney’s presence, Sheridan explains why JR keeps coming back to her. (Conversely, the way her face turns still and cold during a particularly ugly incident with her father communicates a life-changing calculation.) On a visit to the Sydney home on the outskirts of the-di- da from Westport, Connecticut, JR’s tense breakfast with his parents (Mark Boyett and Quincy Tyler Bernstine) swings into the absurd, remembering the memorably uncomfortable meal with the parents at Goodbye, Columbus, and giving Clooney a chance to express his taste for more pointed and satirical ground.

The episodes fit together like pieces of a puzzle, some clearer and more effective than others. In the opening scenes, Monahan’s script (The dead) is wordy and works too hard. The character friction is just on the surface, and sometimes the movie could have pushed deeper. But there is something to be said for how Clooney stays true to JR’s point of view throughout the story, never injecting commentary from above and turning him into a more conventional protagonist instead. than as an essentially passive observer.

It’s refreshing that no one in the movie is treated like a problem to be solved, a character arc to be drawn. Although some of them take on new challenges, no one really changes over the course of The tender bar. This is especially the case with Charlie, who retains an aura of mystery as well as humor and wisdom. In Affleck’s delightfully inflected performance, Charlie doesn’t need a story explaining why he didn’t “settle in.” Just watch him load up his Caddy with friends for a trip to the beach or the Bowladrome (Boston area places play convincingly on Long Island).

Even with the loving looks at the long, shiny cars and all those glorious musical tracks, nothing in the movie screams “vintage piece from the 70s”; Clooney and his collaborators evoke the time without making it a showcase. Against the worn out interiors of the Maguire House and the Dickens, a campus party or the hustle and bustle of a newsroom when newsrooms were noisy and bustling with movement, the production design (by Kalina Ivanov), the costumes (Jenny Eagan) and the cinematography (Martin Ruhe) character always in the foreground.

And in Charlie, we have an unforgettable character, from his very first appearance on screen. After greeting his sister and nephew and explaining to them that they are about to enter a house full of relatives, Charlie shows a smile, shrugs his shoulders and says a “What are you going to do.” ? Then he gives us that shrugging smile again, and in a way, it contains the story of a lifetime.

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