User Score

Generally favorable reviews- based on 47 Ratings

User score distribution:
  1. Positive: 36 out of 47
  2. Negative: 5 out of 47

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  1. Jan 15, 2011
    So worth the full price of a weekend ticket. I gravitate toward movies that take me from my own life, have a solid beginning/middle/END and especially if they do, with great impact, what their classification of movie genre encompasses; If it's a comedy I want to laugh, HARD. If a horror film, I want to be scared witless, and scream. This movie delivers everything and more of what it promises. Barney is complex and endlessly engaging, his life is symphonic. He's not the devil, he's no angel. He's you and me. I laughed out loud, I cried irrepressible tears, I held my head at the ears with that 'o gosh, no no no, not that', I flushed with anger and sighed resting into intense sweetness. I hope you'll go see it, and hope you are transported. As I was. Expand
  2. Feb 6, 2011
    What a wonderful film! A beautiful motion picture. I love Paul Giamatti, I'll see anything with him. He's one the finest actors on the planet. He gives an Oscar deserving performance. The film's beginning/middle/end never drifts. The film is perfectly paced. The cast was perfect for the film. Whoever did the casting got it spot on. Dustin Hoffman & Rosamund Pike are fantastic. Go see this masterpiece, it's worth your 8 bucks. Expand
  3. May 13, 2011
    I'm rating this movie 9/10 because as a HUGE Mordecai Richler film, I don't think that anything could have done Barney's Version (in my opinion his greatest work) justice. Yes, it's true, there are many overlooked details and the movie can sometimes feel like they've just condensed a life into an all-too-short movie form, but overall the film is superbly shot, and it's all so authentic. The scenes filmed in Montreal and on lake Memphremagog are exactly as detailed in the book, and are the actual former residences of Richler himself! It's a beautiful story that cannot be told as well in the movie form as in the novel form, but it captures the spirit nonetheless and I would recommend this movie to absolutely anyone. Fantastic job by Giamatti Expand
  4. Mar 1, 2012
    Barney's Version is an unexpected delight of a film. Paul Giamatti plays Barney Panofsky, an ageing, rich TV executive, looking back on his life. Barney is easily one of the most unlikeable characters in motion picture history. He is snobbish, arrogant, selfish, manipulative, chain-smoking and alcohol dependent - a real scumbag in short, and yet Giamatti somehow makes him compelling as a protagonist. You go on a real journey as Barney considers the highs and lows of his life, and your feelings of hate and contempt for him and his morally bereft actions steadily evolve into pity for him, and finally unquestionable sympathy. It really is the performance of Giamatti's career, and demonstrates his unrivaled excellence as a character actor. The entire supporting cast impress, but none more so than Rosamund Pike playing Barney's long-suffering, but ever-loving third wife Miriam, and Dustin Hoffman as Barney's wise and supportive ex-cop dad Izzy (Hoffman looks like he's having a ball with the role, and never more so than when Izzy educates his son on the real nature of married life). Barney's Version is a really involving, rewarding journey through a character's life, and like real life, it's got laughs, tears, and occasionally both at the same time. Director Richard J. Lewis and writer Michael Konyves have created what is, in essence, a very human viewing experience. The film is proof that no matter what a despicable human being someone is (and Barney really is), you can still feel empathy for them, as feeling sympathy is the natural human response to someone's suffering, no matter what you really think of them. The tragedy of the final chapter in Barney's life is expertly handled by Lewis and Konyves in the film's final act - it's tender, but never soppy, moving, but never in a manipulative way, it's just a well-judged piece of drama. Barney's Version will get a huge range of reactions from you as a viewer, and you'll likely re-evaluate your opinion of Barney on numerous occasions throughout the film. In many ways, he's a terrible person, and is shown to be responsible for a lot of misery in people's lives, but he's also undeniably human, and utterly believable. He makes a pleasantly refreshing change from the utter dullness present in most film characterisation - he may be rather nasty, but there's no denying that Barney is an interesting character! Barney's Version is an incredibly rewarding, compelling and believable human drama that has some nice comic and emotional beats. Incredible as it may seem, you may find yourself rooting for Barney Panofsky, one of the nastiest pieces of work ever committed to screen, by the end. Expand

Generally favorable reviews - based on 33 Critics

Critic score distribution:
  1. Positive: 28 out of 33
  2. Negative: 1 out of 33
  1. Reviewed by: Marjorie Baumgarten
    Mar 3, 2011
    The performances are superlative, as is much of the film's Jewish flavor. The ham is barely noticeable.
  2. Reviewed by: Shawn Levy
    Feb 24, 2011
    It's a breezy and charming film in all, well-acted, playful and filled with real joie de vivre.
  3. Reviewed by: Mike Scott
    Feb 18, 2011
    That character flaw makes for some great shock-fueled laughs in Lewis' film -- Giamatti does full-on comic rage as well as anyone.