User Score
7.3

Generally favorable reviews- based on 119 Ratings

User score distribution:
  1. Negative: 7 out of 119
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  1. May 21, 2012
    10
    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.
  2. Aug 15, 2012
    9
    It is a film that works so well in so many areas it is outstanding. It works as a documentry, comedy, drama and comment of life in texas. Jack Black delivers a subtle funny and dramatic performance. It is a stunning achievement
  3. May 25, 2012
    10
    "Bernie" is a laugh-out-loud black comedy based on a true story that's stranger than fiction. Jack Black deserves a Best Actor nomination for his portrayal of Bernie Tiede, an overly benevolent Christian philanthropist. His speech, mannerisms and lines are perfectly delivered and fit excellently, which can be credited in part to the superb writing and fantastic co-starts. The"Bernie" is a laugh-out-loud black comedy based on a true story that's stranger than fiction. Jack Black deserves a Best Actor nomination for his portrayal of Bernie Tiede, an overly benevolent Christian philanthropist. His speech, mannerisms and lines are perfectly delivered and fit excellently, which can be credited in part to the superb writing and fantastic co-starts. The ridiculousness of the story, the fact that most of it is true, and the incredible quality of the acting, writing and directing make this film the best I have seen all year. A must-see flick that is enjoyable in every aspect. Expand
  4. May 13, 2012
    9
    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 himJack 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
  5. Jun 4, 2012
    9
    Jack Black deserves an Oscar nomination for his portrayal of Bernie Tiede, a small town funeral director who murdered his close elderly friend Marjorie Nugent. The film observes the odd relationship that builds between the two. Bernie is a well-liked and respected figure in Carthage, Texas. He's cheerful and kind, and seems to brighten everyone's day. As a part of his job he comfortsJack Black deserves an Oscar nomination for his portrayal of Bernie Tiede, a small town funeral director who murdered his close elderly friend Marjorie Nugent. The film observes the odd relationship that builds between the two. Bernie is a well-liked and respected figure in Carthage, Texas. He's cheerful and kind, and seems to brighten everyone's day. As a part of his job he comforts widows in their times of grief and keeps in touch with them over the following months. This is how he meets Marjorie (Shirley McLaine), recent widow and local curmudgeon. She shows distaste for just about everyone, whose feelings are perhaps mutual. Bernie however wins her favor with genuine sweetness. The two grow close, much to others' befuddlement. The film utilizes a mockumentary approach surrounding this central narrative; the locals (who may or may not be actual Carthage residents) offer gossip and opinions on what occurred between Bernie and Marjorie. This approach works well, providing audiences with numerous authentic slices of life. Director Richard Linklater keeps the humor gentle, even when ranging into darker territory, while the dramatic counterpoints prove oddly touching. Though the performances highlight the film, the underlying tenderness is what drives it home. Unlike most recent comedies, this one contains a beating heart. Expand
  6. May 25, 2012
    10
    Bizarre, dramatic, hilarious and just overall great. All the actors, especially Jack Black, are unbelievably good. Definitely see this - you will not regret it.
  7. Jun 14, 2012
    9
    Great true story, played well by the main characters (Jack Black and Shirley McLaine). The profiles of the characters would make a good study paper for psychology students.
  8. May 29, 2012
    9
    As a convicted human being for life and an escaped Texan, this film told it all. It captured a big slice of small town life - its prejudices, its judgments, its characters. brilliant.
  9. Aug 11, 2012
    9
    I am not usually a big fan of Black
  10. Lyn
    Dec 30, 2012
    9
    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.
  11. Feb 18, 2015
    9
    A black comedy that is both surprisingly funny and charming. At times it is even heart-warming. It's almost baffling to even consider the movie being this enjoyable when it's plot is based on true events. However it is. Defying the darkness of the events it's based on and becoming a darkly funny, a great murder story, and smart satire.

    The key to the movies success outside of smart
    A black comedy that is both surprisingly funny and charming. At times it is even heart-warming. It's almost baffling to even consider the movie being this enjoyable when it's plot is based on true events. However it is. Defying the darkness of the events it's based on and becoming a darkly funny, a great murder story, and smart satire.

    The key to the movies success outside of smart direction is a stand out performance by Jack Black. Not only does he play his character fascinatingly, with odd little quirks and a complex personality, but also so lifelike. Black makes his interpretation of the individual come to life.

    The same can be said for the entire cast. Their characters might be goofy, but they aren't absurd. It's not hard to see that they are playing characters who are real life people.

    The actual case is likely to be the most divisive aspect of the movie. Does the movie perhaps portray Bernie in a more favorable light do to bias? I really can't say. The fact that the movie is based on a true story (not entirely sure on how accurate) it puts the film in some murky territory. Yes the character is presented as likable, but murder is murder right?

    Whether or not aspects of the case were changed to make Bernie more appealing I honestly do not know. However even if they were it doesn't change the enjoyment I had with this movie. It's a brilliantly funny black comedy with a standout, excellent performance from Jack Black. One I highly recommend viewing.

    I give the movie a 9.1/10.
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Metascore
75

Generally favorable reviews - based on 35 Critics

Critic score distribution:
  1. Positive: 27 out of 35
  2. Negative: 1 out of 35
  1. Reviewed by: Dave Calhoun
    Apr 29, 2013
    60
    If the crime element feels like little more than a red herring, it’s the characters that give the film its appeal.
  2. Reviewed by: Andrew Pulver
    Apr 26, 2013
    80
    Black's performance is a revelation: foregoing his usual repertoire of jiggling, tics and head-waggling craziness, Black ensures Tiede is a satirical creation of considerable substance. Really impressive.
  3. Reviewed by: Rene Rodriguez
    May 24, 2012
    75
    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?