Barney's Version

"Good"

Barney's Version Review


Based on the novel by Mordecai Richler, this film traces some 35 years in the life of its central character. More observational than plot-driven, its real strengths lie in performances that vividly draw out everyday emotions.

Barney Panofsky (Giamatti) has had an event-filled life that not many people quite understand. His first marriage to Clara (Lefevre) in 1970s Rome was short, but his second back home in Montreal (to Driver) was even briefer, as he met wife No 3, Miriam (Pike), at the reception. His later years are haunted by a detective (Addy) who's determined to prove that Barney killed his best friend (Speedman) back in the 80s. And then there's his feisty dad (Dustin Hoffman), smart kids (Jake Hoffman and Hopkins) and a too-friendly neighbour (Greenwood).

The film assembles this out of sequence, as Barney remembers events from his life as he feels his memories start to slip away to old age senility. We know from the start that his marriage to Miriam ended in divorce, so it's intriguing to discover what a long, rich relationship they had together. These scenes are beautifully played by Giamatti and especially the radiant Pike as they age gracefully from decade to decade. And Giamatti's chemistry with Dustin Hoffman is even more vibrant.

It's in these personal scenes that the film really gets under the skin, deepening as it goes along and touching on some extremely powerful themes. The main focus is loyalty - commitment, friendship, disappointment and betrayal.

And all of the actors find subtle ways of illuminating these feelings from scene to scene. Despite some awkward story strands, these are extremely well-written characters, packed with shadings and subtext, and the actors take full advantage of this.

Meanwhile, director Lewis keeps things looking warm and nostalgic without ever indulging in sentimentality. Even when things turn intensely sad from time to time, the film's tone remains comical or at least optimistic, catching the sharp Jewish culture with its straightforward humour and emphasis on the permanence of family relationships. So the fact that there's no real plotline to speak of hardly seems like a problem, even if we feel the film's overlong running time.



Barney's Version

Facts and Figures

Genre: Dramas

Run time: 134 mins

In Theaters: Friday 14th January 2011

Box Office USA: $7.5M

Box Office Worldwide: $8.5M

Budget: $30M

Distributed by: Sony Classics

Production compaines: Serendipity Point Films

Reviews

Contactmusic.com: 3.5 / 5

Rotten Tomatoes: 80%
Fresh: 105 Rotten: 27

IMDB: 7.3 / 10

Cast & Crew

Director: Richard J. Lewis

Producer:

Starring: as Barney Panofsky, as Izzy Panofsky, as Miriam Grant-Panofsky, as The 2nd Mrs. P, as Clara 'Chambers' Charnofsky, Macha Grenon as Solange, as Detective O'Hearne, Anna Hopkins as Kate Panofsky

Contactmusic


Links



Advertisement

New Movies

Trumbo Movie Review

Trumbo Movie Review

An entertaining film about sobering true events, this is the story of notorious screenwriter Dalton...

Goosebumps Movie Review

Goosebumps Movie Review

Mixing the action, comedy and horror from novelist R.L. Stein's books into a family-friendly package,...

Dad's Army Movie Review

Dad's Army Movie Review

The beloved 1970s British sit-com gets the big screen treatment, although there's been very little...

Spotlight Movie Review

Spotlight Movie Review

This film demonstrates that you don't need guns to make an exciting thriller. Based on...

13 Hours: The Secret Soldiers of Benghazi Movie Review

13 Hours: The Secret Soldiers of Benghazi Movie Review

Not the subtlest director working in Hollywood, Michael Bay brings his surging machismo to this...

Dirty Grandpa Movie Review

Dirty Grandpa Movie Review

There's nothing clever about this deliberately rude and vulgar comedy, but certain audiences will find...

The Big Short Movie Review

The Big Short Movie Review

Smart and snappy, this comedy is one of the scariest films of the year, using...

Advertisement
The 5th Wave Movie Review

The 5th Wave Movie Review

Also based on the first in a trilogy of post-apocalyptic teen novels, this thriller feels...

Ride Along 2 Movie Review

Ride Along 2 Movie Review

Ice Cube and Kevin Hart reteam for a sequel no one really asked for, following...

Room Movie Review

Room Movie Review

One of the most extraordinary films of the year, this drama cleverly weaves in events...

Creed Movie Review

Creed Movie Review

While this film is basically Rocky VII, it's also much more than that, and perhaps...

A Perfect Day Movie Review

A Perfect Day Movie Review

An irreverent comedy in the style of the original M.A.S.H., this wartime romp takes an...

Partisan Movie Review

Partisan Movie Review

With his feature debut, young Australian filmmaker Ariel Kleiman tells a creepy story about a...

The Revenant Movie Review

The Revenant Movie Review

A wrenching saga of survival and revenge, Alejandro G. Inarritu's new epic is just as...

The Hateful Eight Movie Review

The Hateful Eight Movie Review

Quentin Tarantino is a filmmaker who simply can't be ignored, especially when he lobs a...

Advertisement
Artists
Actors
    Filmmakers
      Artists
      Bands
        Musicians
          Artists
          Celebrities
             
              Artists
              Interviews
                musicians & bands in the news
                  actors & filmmakers in the news
                    celebrities in the news

                      Go Back in Time using our News archive to see what happened on a particular day in the past.