A sour, plotless and witless comedy-drama based on the final Mordecai Richler novel, wants to remind you of "Sideways" and its forlorn drink-moistened soul search. Giamatti is an ideal casting choice, but even this talented actor can't sell a lovable-jerk
Generally favorable reviews- based on 46 Ratings
Mar 13, 2012Barney's Version is not a perfect film, not by a long shot but it's clever enough in its writing and execution to be enjoyable despite the fact it is a film cut up into three separate sections and neither one ever really meshes with the other.
Regardless of that, the film is a powerhouse in terms of acting performances with both Rosamund Pike and Dustin Hoffman giving career highlight performances. However the film belongs to Paul Giamatti as Barney because through his performance you can just about get past the jarring splitting up of the films narrative because the performance is so strong you'd follow it anywhere. That being said the split is incredibly noticeable with each part feeling almost like a different film. The first chapter is dark and twisted with some very black comedy and probably the most involving 30 minutes of the film. The second is lighter with a move towards more sarcastic humour which after a while grates, like Minnie Driver's character. It also includes a murder/accident plot that although important never feels relevant making the middle section of the film the weakest of the three. The final section is emotional, maybe a little too emotional, but it also explores the mundaneness of married life and how Barney has been affected by the people in his life better than the other two combined. With all this in mind it is a film that feels like it was made by three different people trying to say three different things and for that reason it can't be as powerful, moving or involving as it wants or needs to be, leading to an ending that should be poignant and bitter-sweet, but instead is entertaining but never powerful.… Full Review »
Jun 18, 2011A very enjoyable movie. Its something you would watch on a rainy sunday afternoon. It is not memorable by any means but it has a good start and an excellent ending. Probably because the main character is not an overtly nice guy , it does detract somewhat from the experience; but when should movie making always feature a redeeming character! One to watch for sure.… Full Review »
Mar 13, 2011Barney Panofsky is a complex character: obnoxious, unsympathetic, romantic, sensitive and a little bit sweet. Although there are friends and family, most of the narrative revolves around his relationship with his three wives. As Barney, Paul Giamatti makes the film worth watching. He brilliantly examines all sides of this complex character. What's hard is that every scene goes on too long (which makes the movie too long) and Barney keeps repeating his bad behaviors (which makes the movie frustrating). While the performances and direction are strong, Barney's character just isn't appealing.… Full Review »