The Tender Bar parents guide

The Tender Bar Parent Guide

This tender-hearted little film unfortunately carries jaw-dropping amounts of profanity and ubiquitous alcohol consumption.

Overall C+

Amazon: Based on a memoir by J. R. Moehringer, The Tender Bar tells the story of a young boy with an absent father who grows up with his extended family in Long Island.

Release date January 7, 2022

Violence B
Sexual Content C-
Profanity D
Substance Use C-

Why is The Tender Bar rated R? The MPAA rated The Tender Bar R Rated R for language throughout and some sexual content.

Run Time: 104 minutes

Parent Movie Review

Life for Dorothy Moehringer (Lily Rabe) has been difficult since her divorce, not least because her former husband (Max Martini). Things have been so hard, in fact, that she’s taking her young son, J.R. (Daniel Ranieri), and moving back in with her parents. While she sees moving home as a failure, J.R. loves spending time with the eclectic family: Grandpa (Christopher Lloyd), Grandma (Sondra James), and all the various aunts and cousins. But most of all, he likes spending time with Uncle Charlie (Ben Affleck), a bartender at the neighborhood hangout, The Dickens. As J.R. grows up, Charlie gives him some invaluable life lessons about the importance of family, responsibility, and education. And when J.R. (now played by Tye Sheridan) goes off to university, he takes those lessons with him. But being away from home means making his own decisions, and it’s going to be up to him to decide how he wants to live his life.

If I’m honest (which does happen from time to time), I was expecting this to be a vaguely depressing “absent father film” with the only high point being Christopher Lloyd playing a bizarre old man. While I can confirm that Christopher Lloyd is both insane and wonderful, spending his screentime drinking, farting, and lying about farting (not necessarily in that order), I can also say that I was completely wrong. This is one of the most warmly sentimental movies I’ve seen in a while. Even Ben Affleck, who I’ve been largely unimpressed with of late, manages to be genuine, kind, and entertaining throughout.

The biggest concern for viewers, by far, is going to be the profanity. There are 77 f-bombs in 106 minutes, which you might justifiably consider to be a tad excessive. As you might imagine for a film largely set in a bar, there’s also a lot of drinking. It’s almost solely social in nature, and the film does have consequences for characters who drink excessively or irresponsibly. I was pleasantly surprised that there was no underage drinking whatsoever. Once the younger characters start drinking, they even show their ID’s. Responsible drinking is not the norm in film, especially when college kids are involved.

In pleasant comparison to the deluge of stress-inducing action or guilt riddled drama, The Tender Bar is, as the name suggests, quite a gentle little film. That’s not to say that no one has any problems, but the tone stays light and positive in spite of the struggles. Above all else, the film is focused on the importance of a kind and supportive family, even if that family is, at best, eccentric. It’s not going to break any new ground cinematically, but it is a cozy way to spend time with an oddball group of loveable outcasts.

Directed by George Clooney. Starring Ben Affleck, Tye Sheridan, Daniel Ranieri. Running time: 104 minutes. Theatrical release January 7, 2022. Updated

Watch the trailer for The Tender Bar

The Tender Bar
Rating & Content Info

Why is The Tender Bar rated R? The Tender Bar is rated R by the MPAA Rated R for language throughout and some sexual content.

Violence: There is a scene of off-screen domestic violence.
Sexual Content: There one instance of sexual content with no graphic nudity.
Profanity: There are 77 uses of extreme profanity, 19 uses of scatological curses, and frequent mild swearing and use of terms of deity.
Alcohol / Drug Use: Adult characters are frequently seen drinking and smoking tobacco.

Page last updated

The Tender Bar Parents' Guide

What are some of the lessons J.R. learns from Charlie? How does he apply those lessons? Who else provides valuable lessons for J.R.? Who, apart from his mother and Charlie, do you think has the biggest influence on him? Why?

Home Video

Related home video titles:

Other quirky coming-of-age movies include Lady Bird, Perks of Being a Wallflower, The Edge of Seventeen, and Little Miss Sunshine.