Thursday, January 13, 2011



Paul Giamatti as Barney
Photo by ©Sabrina Lantos, Courtesy of Sony Pictures Classics

Rosamund Pike as Miriam
Photo by ©Sabrina Lantos, Courtesy of Sony Pictures Classics

Left to Right: Paul Giamatti as Barney and Dustin Hoffman as Izzy
Photo by ©Sabrina Lantos, Courtesy of Sony Pictures Classics

Left to Right: Paul Giamatti as Barney and Rachelle Lefevre as Clara
Photo by ©Sabrina Lantos, Courtesy of Sony Pictures Classics

Barney's Version is a serious, extremely well acted drama.

Paul Giamatti (Barney) was nominated for a Golden Globe. (Note 1/17 -- in fact, he WON!)
Dustin Hoffman has an unforgettable role as Barney's father.
Rachelle Lefevre, flames briefly and spectacularly as Barney's disturbed first wife.
Rosamund Pike, as the love of Barney's life, is transcendent.
Also, Jake Hoffman (Dustin Hoffman's son) plays Barney's son, and he's very good.

Indeed, the movie has many transcendent moments of love, and a fascinating portrayal of a very difficult man.

The film is also, and there is no warning in the previews, so this is buyer beware -- the film is also very depressing and downbeat.

The film derives from a novel by Mordecai Richler. In the book, Barney is suffering from Alzheimer's, and the book is a flashback, his version of the events of his life, told from his own point of view, an unreliable narrator, already suffering the beginnings of dementia. The movie, however, is plotted essentially linearly; though flashbacks fill in part of the story, there's the barest suggestion that these events are "his version" of the events.

Giamatti said the book is so different from the screenplay, that he didn't read it until after he made the movie, so it would not confuse his portrayal.





This movie can be strongly recommended, as long as you understand that it is a very serious, somber drama about the life and love life of a disturbed and disturbing man.

The following synopsis contains spoilers.
Or perhaps savers, if you were expecting to see a happy film about true love.

A synopsis goes something like this: Shit happens. Worse shit happens. Something wonderful happens for decades, so we'll skip over that in a few moments of screen time. More shit happens. Terrible things happen. He loses his mind. He dies.

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