The Tender Bar, the movie starring Ben Affleck

The memoirs of the writer JR Moehringer arrive in the form of a tape on Amazon Prime, and the result is a simple and deep narrative about how a child comes to fall in love with literature. So it was a delight to chat with actor Ben Affleck, who plays the author’s Uncle Charlie, who always prompts him to read. These memories count what is it like to discover yourself going page after page of literature. Taking into account that Ben, before being an actor and director considered himself a writer, the conversation regarding The Tender Bar, it was delicious.

As a writer that you are, playing this particular character should be especially interesting.

Yes, it was beautiful. Playing a character who not only values ​​but understands well the things that are important to me. Treasure and understand the power and importance of being present in the lives of young people. Support and encourage them. And also the love of language, of literature, of telling stories. That is something that I already like a lot and it was not like when I made a movie like The Way Back, where I was a basketball coach, a sport I don’t know much about, so I had to do my research. Learn. This was something that suited me very well. Like putting on my favorite pair of shoes, because I love writing and reading. I have my father, whom I can thank for that, as the JR character has his Uncle Charlie.

Is it a film to bring the lyrics to the new generations?

Yes, it is, and it is also a story for a time when we have been separated from each other, locked in our houses in some way or another. And we must be afraid of each other, wear face masks, think things like: “Oh, no, this person could hit me with a disease.” People don’t want to be separated anymore, you know? We want to be in communities. Love us, express ourselves. These times have been complex; obviously many people, including me, have gotten very sick; and particularly for children, they were saved from the worst of the covid in biological terms, but psychologically, mentally and emotionally they are the ones who suffer the most from being locked up at home. For being stored and away from other people.

What has been your experience?

I strongly encourage my kids to read, rather than glued to the phone. And so they find pleasure in reading, that’s a wonderful thing to take with you. Share him and with him, the joy, the pain, the drama of what an author wrote who sometimes even died a long time ago, but who takes us to other moments. My 16-year-old daughter is reading El general en su laberinto (by García Márquez). She is in a film, Spanish and literature class, so she is reading Isabel Allende, García Lorca, and we watch the movies with her. And it’s wonderful to see how across cultures and time, literature can connect us to the most basic humanity of other people. And it can bring us joy, even if we are alone in our room with that book. That is much better wealth than browsing and looking at photos. Reading books helps you focus and gives you every advantage to understand this and other worlds.

The author before his film

JR Moehringer, the award-winning author whose memories became this film, recounted what it was like to see his life story turned into film with his wife. The two of them had a private performance and this is what he told the production upon leaving: “I knew it was going to be an emotional experience, but I wasn’t ready for it anyway. It still brought me back to those days, in particular the scene with my grandfather, when he takes me to the breakfast that was for father and son, the scene with my mother when I received the acceptance letter for Yale… on several occasions I was overcome by tears. I hope the audience is moved by the performances and by the sweet energy of the film, ”he added.

“Family matters and love is the answer. If someone hurts you or doesn’t love you, you don’t need them. No matter where you start in life, you can achieve anything if you put your mind. All this is in the film and it is what I had in my heart when writing my story. I hope the others take that with them too ”.

The direction

George Clooney, who directs the film, also recounted what he saw in this story so that he could tell it in such a way that it would do justice to the book and its author: We realize that it was always there for us. You have a mother who loves you, you have your uncle (Affleck) and although you thought that The Magician or in this case The voice (of his father) was the key to happiness, the truth is that you did not need it. You never needed it. You always had a family while you spent your time looking for it, ”he said.

In streaming

It was released in theaters in the US in December in order to participate in the awards season; from this weekend it arrives on Amazon Prime.


Lily Rabe plays Dorothy, JR’s mother, who despite having a complicated life and having been abandoned by her husband, always conveys to her son that success awaits him and that, unlike her and her brother, He will go to Yale University to fulfill his dreams.

Rabe, one of the most recognized actresses of character in the theater, has shared the stage with Al Pacino in The Merchant of Venice; On TV he has worked with producers like Ryan Murphy on American Horror Story.


And although for many Back to the Future fans Christopher Lloyd will always be Doc Brown, the truth is that he has not stopped working since then. Now he plays the grumpy and endearing grandfather of JR, who welcomes them back to his house. And despite the differences he may have regarding his daughter’s decisions, he is the one who, along with his son Charlie, gives a sense of family to the young man who will become an acclaimed writer and protagonist of this story.


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The Tender Bar, the movie starring Ben Affleck