The Tender Bar: An Earnest An Emotional Performance From Ben Affleck Saves The Day

3/5

Written by Luke Barnes

Summary

A young boy, played by Daniel Ranieri as a boy and Tye Sheridan as a young man, turns to his surly uncle, played by Ben Affleck, for life advise in place of his absentee father, played by Max Martini.

Not too long ago in a review I was saying about how actors who then become directors don’t usually end up becoming good at it, I even gave George Clooney, the director of this film, as an example and whilst this film doesn’t prove me wrong it does show a nice upswing for Clooney’s filmography and suggests that maybe there is hope for the actor turned director.

That is not to say this film is perfect, it really isn’t. From a structural point of view there aren’t any stakes, things just happen and then it is on to the next thing. I understand it is supposed to be autobiographical to some extent and life isn’t like a film there often aren’t great stakes and battles to be won, but this film’s narrative needed that. As it stands it’s just one thing then the next, happening one after another without any real consequence.

Furthermore, Sheridan was probably the wrong actor to cast for this role as he seems incapable of emoting. Mud was a good film, but Sheridan wasn’t the main focus there, however in everything that has followed wherein he is the lead he seems incredibly one note and like he is pulling the same face throughout regardless of what is happening on screen- this is true here, painfully so.

However, rather surprisingly this film is saved by an incredibly emotional and earnest performance from Ben Affleck. There are several moments in this film where I would say Affleck’s performance is worthy of awards consideration, one that springs to mind is the emotion on his face during his final scene in the film as he watches his nephew, who is basically a son to him, drive away into the sunset: his face is so full of emotion, happiness and sadness, pride and loss it is quite moving. Sadly, it also points out just how poor of a job Sheridan is doing.

Overall, there might be hope for Clooney yet if he keeps working with Affleck.

Pros.

The emotion

Affleck

It was well paced

Cons.

No stakes, things just sort of happen and then are moved on from

Sheridan  

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