A blog dealing with either the joy of cinema or the agony of cinema--nothing in between.
Wednesday, July 27, 2011
After an opening scene where he makes an extremely inappropriate phone call to his ex-wife's husband at three in the morning, we see Barney Panofsky at a bar. An old detective hands him a signed copy of his new book which details a murder investigation where Barney was the only suspect. We then flash back thirty years to get Barney's version of events in his life, starting with his first marriage to a free spirit, and including when he met Miriam the love of his life, at his second wedding. Sometimes, like the first glimpse Barney catches of Miriam, a movie can sneak up on you and absolutely floor you. Barney's Version, directed by Richard J. Lewis from the beloved novel by Mordecai Richler, is a wonderfully delightful film that manages to take the story of a misanthrope and draw humor, drama, and sentiment out of it. It features a virtuoso performance from Paul Giamatti, who plays Barney from about the age of 30 to 60 in remarkable makeup that flawlessly ages him both up and down. Rosamund Pike is endearing as well as Miriam and Dustin Hoffman offers wonderful support as Barney's father. I was recently lamenting a film about a reprehensible character for not making him likable. Barney's Version takes a politically incorrect curmudgeon and has you on his side for the entirety of the picture. This is a wonderful film.