Generally favorable reviews - based on 35 Critics What's this?

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Generally favorable reviews- based on 111 Ratings

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  • Starring: , ,
  • Summary: In the tiny, rural town of Carthage, TX, assistant funeral director Bernie Tiede was one of the town’s most beloved residents. He taught Sunday school, sang in the church choir and was always willing to lend a helping hand. Everyone loved and appreciated Bernie, so it came as no surprise when he befriended Marjorie Nugent, an affluent widow who was as well known for her sour attitude as her fortune. Bernie frequently traveled with Marjorie and even managed her banking affairs. Marjorie quickly became fully dependant on Bernie and his generosity and Bernie struggled to meet her increasing demands. Bernie continued to handle her affairs, and the townspeople went months without seeing Marjorie. The people of Carthage were shocked when it was reported that Marjorie Nugent had been dead for some time, and Bernie Tiede was being charged with the murder. (Millennium Entertainment) Expand
Score distribution:
  1. Positive: 27 out of 35
  2. Negative: 1 out of 35
  1. Reviewed by: Mick LaSalle
    May 17, 2012
    You should have the opportunity to experience the movie the way I did, in complete ignorance, enjoying its every weird turn.
  2. Reviewed by: Manohla Dargis
    Apr 26, 2012
    Gaudily vibrant, at times morbidly funny.
  3. Reviewed by: Roger Ebert
    May 2, 2012
    I had to forget what I knew about Black. He creates this character out of thin air, it's like nothing he's done before, and it proves that an actor can be a miraculous thing in the right role.
  4. Reviewed by: Peter Travers
    Apr 26, 2012
    No use trying to describe Bernie. It's a one-of-a-kind inspiration. You will never feel closer to a convicted killer.
  5. Reviewed by: Rene Rodriguez
    May 24, 2012
    The question of why the law must always be upheld, regardless of consequences, gives this light, amiable movie a surprising heft and weight. You don't want to see Bernie sent to prison - the world is a better place without that mean old shrew - but murder is murder, right?
  6. Reviewed by: Justin Chang
    Apr 21, 2012
    Pitch-perfect performances by Shirley MacLaine and an unusually restrained Jack Black hold together this offbeat true-crime saga, but Linklater's keen eye for human eccentricity flowers most memorably on the periphery.
  7. Apr 25, 2012
    A surprisingly shapeless true-crime farce which never creates a convincing context for the odd relationship between a pious East Texas mortician and his sugar mama.

See all 35 Critic Reviews

Score distribution:
  1. Positive: 33 out of 40
  2. Negative: 4 out of 40
  1. May 21, 2012
    Fantastic movie - I highly recommend you see this movie. Jack Black is a great actor - he plays the true story of Bernie perfectly! He is a wonderful singer, and he sings throughout the movie. I am really glad I went to see this movie. Expand
  2. May 13, 2012
    Jack Black was born to play Bernie Tiede, the town Funeral Director in Carthage, Texas. He plays the guy who comes to town and steals all the old ladies hearts to perfection. He sings pretty good also which he showcases many times throughout the film. He befriends the town's most hated woman (played deliciously by Shirley MacClaine), then she takes complete control over him causing him to, well, you have to see it for yourself. I haven't attended a film where the entire audience was involved and laughing like this in a long time. Most of the theater clapped at the end and stayed for the entire end of the credits. The interviews with all the town's inhabitants are hilarious. Matthew McConaughey hams it up as the local D.A. I really enjoyed this quirky, campy film. Expand
  3. Lyn
    Dec 30, 2012
    I guess Jack Black is going to be ignored at awards time in favor of guys like Afleck. But Black's performance here is amazing -- funny, sad, musical, bizarre, and he's playing a real person you get a glimpse of at the end of the film! The quasi-documentary approach here works well and is really enjoyable. Expand
  4. Aug 28, 2012
    Jack Black really transforms into the title character in 'Bernie', a darkly comic crime film by Richard Linklater that is his best film since 'Before Sunset'. Black is so admirably subtle and controlled in his performance that I wish he had dived into dramatic territory sooner. As far as supporting roles go, I am not usually a fan of Matthew McConaughey, but he won me over in what is probably his best performance to date as well and Shirley Maclaine is typically great as the cold-hearted **** of Carthage. Also, the semi-scripted roles of the townspeople playing themselves are very funny. Linklater so easily empathises us with Bernie that we begin to side with the townsfolk too and when the ending comes about, there is some melancholy to be felt. The shot near the end where the real-life Bernie meets with Jack Black to talk is also nicely affecting and Black's portrayal of him is by far the performance of the year so far for me. Great movie. Expand
  5. Sep 1, 2014
    Jack Black's performance as Bernie makes us not only disregard his murder but feel inspired. Bernie is a unique piece of filmmaking that earns the rare achievement of being a successful black comedy. Expand
  6. Aug 29, 2012
    It was a pretty solid move that is helped greatly by the wonderful performance by Jack Black. The biggest problem I had was that there was really very little of the actual plot. The film largely oonsisted of numerous actors/actresses discussing things that Bernie does and what he is like, what his relationship is like with the female lead. That was a little disapointing because Black's performance was so good that it really should have been expanded on and he should have had more dialogue and better interaction with the female lead as well.

    Overall, It was a solid movie. A decently made film that is worth checking out.
  7. Oct 12, 2013
    that is one of the worst movies of all time. It was more of a documentary than a comedy movie. How can anyone call it a comedy movie?? There is no comedy element in this movie. I think critics of this movie are just as retarded as the makers of the movie. Bad bad movie. It sucks. Expand

See all 40 User Reviews


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