Movie Review: Barney’s Version (2010)

Posted: November 26, 2011 in Drama

barneys version


Barney Panofsky (Paul Giamatti) met his first wife, Clara (Rachel Lefebre)  in Italy, with his friends Boogie  Scott Speedman)and Cedric (Cle Bennett) Barney  marries Clara because she thinks he impregnated her, but the child turns out to be Cedric’s.  Distraught that he find out the truth, Clara kills herself.  A few years later, Barney’s uncle introduces him to the future second Mrs. Panofsky (Minnie Driver) and despite her parents being turned off by his father Izzy’s (Dustin Hoffman) off color cop stories, they get married.  The marriage is destined to fail, because Barney meets the love of his life, Miriam (Rosamund Pike) at his second marriage, and starts pursuing her immediately after the wedding.  It doesn’t help matters when Barney catches wife number two in bed with Boogie, and Barney is suspected of shooting the suddenly missing Boogie.  Finally, Barney gets a divorce, and pursues Miriam in earnest.  They get married have two kids, but Barney feels Miriam is slipping away towards a man named Blair,(Bruce Greenwood) who they met at their lakehouse.  Does Barney keep his true love? Is Barney a murderer?

I did not like this movie.  The question that rattles around in my mind is who would be interested in a drunken, boorish, cigar smoking foul mouthed hockey fan?  There was nothing redeeming about this character.  Why would I care if this guy loses is 3rd wife?  I didn’t, Barney was a lousy guy, and then the script makes it more depressing by making Barney a n object of pity.  That doesn’t make him any more sympathetic, it just makes the story all the more miserable. It also seems like the writers give Barney a convenient, easy way out of the sticky situations he finds himself in.  Barney finds out that  his first wife slept with Cedric, she kills herself.  Barney doesn’t know what to do about his second wife, because he loves Miriam, the second wife sleeps with Boogie.    Convenient, but also not true to life, all these entanglements are messy and can’t be gotten out of so easily, the writers took the easy way out with each of his relationships.  The acting is not that good, except for occasional bits of comedy, Giamatti looks bored, and really doesn’t convey any emotion whatsoever.  Minnie Driver plays a Jewish princess stereotype and struggles with her accent.  Rosamund Pike sounds like an NPR announcer throughout the film and that’’s not a compliment. The only actor that puts any life into his performance is Dustin Hoffman, and he’s in an unaccredited role, so he’s not even the focus here. Finally, it’s very long, over two hours, not good considering I lost interest after one hour.

Barney’s Version.  Barney’s lost in the Rubble of his life.


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