Friday, December 31, 2010

Barney's Version (2010)

According to what I've heard Mordicai Richler's novel Barney's Version is a huge thing in Canadian literature. Unfortunately, because the story is told from an external point of view rather than from Barney's own introspection, the film suffers a little bit. Nonetheless, the film is enjoyable.


Barney Panofsky, is a TV producer from Montreal. Back in the 1970s, he starts to search for the love of his life. Claire (Rachelle Lefebvre), his first wife, is an artist who is rather unstable. His second wife (Minnie Driver), an intellectual with a Master degree from McGill University, rather irks him. Moreover, Barney met his third wife, Miriam (Rosamund Pike), on the day of his marriage with his second wife.

Now that he's in his sixties, Barney takes a reality check and looks back at his life. He remembers his failures, his blunders and a few of his good decisions. Moreover, he also has to deal with the disappearance of his best friend, Boogie (Scott Speedman), because he's the prime suspect in the case.

I haven't read the novel, which is considered a major work in Canadian literature. Nevertheless, I found Barney's Version entertaining at best. Told as a chronicle, the film's story is a smooth river stripped down from too much intellectual references. As a result of that, it only focuses on Barney's thoughts about his own life.

While we don't have much access to Barney's inner thoughts, the film is somehow enjoyable. Sure, in its exploration of sexual and romantic fantasies, the film can seem a little bit vulgar. Moreover, given what he's gone through, one would wonder why Barney entertains sexist thoughts. However, it's the magic and humoristic performance of Paul Giamatti that make us feel the necessity to understand his character.

Finally, although I found some parts of the film a little bit boring, the film managed to make me laugh.

Rating: 3.5/5

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