Monday, February 21, 2011

Review: Barney's Version

Grade: A+

Barney Panofsky has lived a full life as a successful TV producer. However, recently a detective has released a book about Barney that claims he is a murderer, amongst other things. This is Barney’s version of the story. He was married once but his wife cheated on him with one of his closest friends and that marriage met an unfortunate and tragic end. Then he met his second wife, and at their wedding he met the love of his life. Barney’s story begins to unravel more and more and is filled with love and intrigue as well as success and many blunders.

Barney’s Version is an amazing and picaresque tale about a hard drinking, cigar smoking, foul mouthed and politically correct man who also manages to be completely lovable and sympathetic. Even though some of the things that Barney does in this movie can be seen as horrible and deplorable, for some reason you still feel for the guy. It tells a great story about a very realistic character. The movie follows a very interesting path that I find to be fantastic. It starts out as an interesting and rather funny comedy of sorts, then it slowly turns into more of a romance before switching into a small mystery before finally turning into a great drama. The writing and direction of the movie is absolutely fantastic. Not to mention the makeup (which is nominated for an Oscar), which was outstanding. The movie takes place over the course of around 40 years and the subtle things they did to make the actors look older or younger are amazing and incredibly realistic.

Paul Giamatti (Cold Souls, Sideways) plays the titular role of Barney Panofsky. I am a huge fan of Paul Giamatti, the man is an extremely talented actor who makes just about every movie he makes extremely enjoyable. He really out does himself in this Barney’s Version. His portrayal of the character of Barney Panofsky is incredible. He manages to handle every aspect of this character just perfectly, I really feel he should have been nominated for an Oscar for this role but I think it’s great that he won a golden globe for this performance. Rosamund Pike (Surrogates, An Education) plays Miriam, Barney’s third (and final) wife. I have been a fan of hers since Die Another Day and she just keeps getting better, her performance in this movie is amazing. Dustin Hoffman (Last Chance Harvey, Stranger Than Fiction) plays the role of Izzy Panofsky, Barney’s father. Hoffman was very enjoyable in this movie and gave a great performance. Minnie Driver (Motherhood, TVs The Riches) plays Barney’s second wife, who I believe remains carefully nameless throughout. I really like Minnie Driver but this is the best performance she’s given since Good Will Hunting. The movie also features great performances by Scott Speedman, Mark Addy, Cle Bennett, Rachelle Lefevre, Bruce Greenwood, Jake Hoffman and more.

Barney’s Version is a fantastic and seemingly underrated movie. It has plenty of laughs and leaves you with plenty to think about. For a fictional movie, it is a very real story. It is a bit of an enigma, it is funny and tragic all at the same time. I really ended up loving this movie.

Great quote: “I’m a vegan” “I’m sorry. Is there a cure for that.”

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