Barney's Version (15)

Film

Drama

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Time Out rating:

<strong>Rating: </strong><span class='lf-avgRating'>3</span>/5

User ratings:

<strong>Rating: </strong><span class='lf-avgRating'>4</span>/5
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Time Out says

Tue Jan 25 2011

Sometimes you wonder whether it’s a blessing or a curse that Paul Giamatti remains so likeable even when playing a shit. His Barney Panokfsky is one irascible old geezer, the wealthy producer of a cheesy Canadian TV soap, he thrives on baiting his ex-wife’s current husband, while a newly published non-fiction book suggests some murderously murky deeds in his past.

Giamatti’s on familiar ground here – smart, schlubby and up against it. But if Barney just gets on with being Barney, the movie is burdened by a sense of responsibility to Montreal literary lion Mordecai Richler’s final novel. Criss-crossing the decades, the story rather too carefully picks its way through rocky marriage (shrill Jewish princess Minnie Driver) and seemingly blissful romance (Rosamund Pike, working wonders in a sketchily motivated role). It’s all shaped round a pivotal friendship between Barney and free-spirited pal Boogie (Scott Speedman), obviously representing the carousing liberation the convention-bound protagonist wishes for himself.

It all adds up to a sprawling portrait of maleness, but while the central character is far from uncaring, the movie overindulges his relentless, if unselfconscious, egotism and asks us to be swept along by it. Somehow it feels rooted in 1970s chauvinism, but with Giamatti’s cuddle-factor sweetening the bitter taste, and Pike putting up sterner resistance than the rest of the women. Maybe more celluloid allure would draw us in, but for a movie ostensibly about the power of unruly desires, it’s all just a bit too ordered, prim and overlit.

Still, if Richard J Lewis’s direction is too sensible for its own good, there’s enough Richler-derived scope and sophistication to provide grown-up appeal, and Dustin Hoffman kicks in some memorable scene-stealing as Giamatti’s embarrassingly no-nonsense old dad.
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Release details

Rated:

15

UK release:

Fri Jan 28, 2011

Duration:

132 mins

Users say

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<strong>Rating: </strong><span class='lf-avgRating'>0</span>/5

Average User Rating

4.1 / 5

Rating Breakdown

  • 5 star:2
  • 4 star:1
  • 3 star:1
  • 2 star:0
  • 1 star:0
LiveReviews|6
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Steve ellis

Marvellous film. wonderful performances by Giamatti,Hoffman and Pike. Starts slowly but gradually draws you in and leaves you feeling sorry for the main character in spite of his somewhat awkward personality. Definitely worth seeing.

ARCHGATE

I dont normally give ratings ... but this is an exceptional 5 star film. The performances are all Grade A. If you have a beating heart, you should love this film.

ARCHGATE

I dont normally give ratings ... but this is an exceptional 5 star film. The performances are all Grade A. If you have a beating heart, you should love this film.

Mike

This is a great movie. Giamatti plays short, tubby, Barney - an occasionally coarse magnet to tall attractive women. Other than 10 minutes that could fall to the cutting room floor, there’s nothing bad I have to say about it. It’s very, very well cast – flawless, even – with Rosamund Pike, Minnie Driver, and Paul Giamatti all outstanding. There’s a good, subtle grain of humour running through the movie, and some great paternal advice from Dustin Hoffman to Paul Giamatti: “Son, you know what marriage is like at the start – all brisket and b**wj**s�, which left me chuckling for a few minutes. For Pike and Giamatti, this is a great movie. If you liked Giamatti in quirky “American Splendor�, you’ll like him in this. Pike is outstanding as Giamatti’s wife, and Christ she’s looks gorgeous on that bed in just lace pants. Phew. Three stars. A film I'll see again, and probably get on DVD.

Sandy

This is the best movie ever, No one could have played the part better than Paul G. He is the best!

Sandy

This is the best movie ever, No one could have played the part better than Paul G. He is the best!