Barney's Version


This was the official website for the picaresque and touching story of the politically incorrect, fully lived life of the impulsive, irascible and fearlessly blunt Barney Panofsky.
Content is from the site's archived pages and other outside sources.

Premiere: April 1, 2010
R Theatrical (limited):  January 14, 2011
R Theatrical: February 18, 2011



Barney's Version Movie Trailer Official (HD)

 

Synopsis

Based on Mordecai Richler's prize-winning comic novel—his last and, arguably, best—BARNEY'S VERSION is the warm, wise, and witty story of Barney Panofsky (Paul Giamatti), a seemingly ordinary man who lives an extraordinary life. A candid confessional, told from Barney's point of view, the film spans four decades and two continents, taking us through the different acts? of his unusual history. There is his first wife, Clara (Rachelle Lefevre), a flame-haired, flagrantly unfaithful free sprit with whom Barney briefly lives la vie de Boheme in Rome. The second Mrs. P. (Minnie Driver), is a wealthy Jewish Princess who shops and talks incessantly, barely noticing that Barney is not listening. And it is at their lavish wedding that Barney meets, and starts pursuing, Miriam (Rosamund Pike), his third wife, the mother of his two children, and his true love. With his father, Izzy (Dustin Hoffman) as his sidekick, Barney takes us through the many highs, and a few too many lows, of his long and colorful life. Not only does Barney turn out to be a true romantic, he is also capable of all kinds of sneaky acts of gallantry, generosity, and goodness when we—and he—least expect it. His is a gloriously full life, played out on a grand scale. And, at its center stands an unlikely hero—the unforgettable Barney Panofsky.

Cast:  Paul Giamatti, Dustin Hoffman, Rosamund Pike, Minnie Driver, Rachelle Lefevre, Scott Speedman, Bruce Greenwood

TOMATOMETER CRITICS 80% | AUDIENCE 78%

 

CRITICS' REVIEWS

'Barney's Version' of a colorful life

March 18, 2011
***1/2 Rafer Guzman  Newsday Top Critic
Please clip and save this review until after you've seen "Barney's Version." The movie, much like your own life, is best enjoyed when you don't know exactly what happens next.

If you're still reading, don't worry about major plot spoilers - there is no plot. The fluid, freewheeling narrative, based on Mordecai Richler's 1997 novel, centers on Barney Panofsky (Paul Giamatti), a successful television producer, womanizer and reluctant Jew in Montreal. He comes by his roguishness honestly: His father, Izzy (Dustin Hoffman, fleetingly superb), gives him a gun for a wedding present. Even less respectable is Barney's best friend, an erudite drug addict nicknamed Boogie (Scott Speedman).

That gun, and Boogie, will bring Barney under suspicion of murder, though this is the least memorable occurrence in his colorful life. After losing his first wife, a bohemian artist named Clara (Rachelle Lefevre), Barney tries going legit with a respectable woman he calls only The Second Mrs. P (a very funny Minnie Driver). It's not the most solid relationship. You can tell because Barney begins wooing the beautiful Miriam (Rosamund Pike) during his own reception.

Giamatti is pitch-perfect as the all-too-human Barney, while Pike, as the fiercely principled Miriam, proves every ounce his equal. (You could call her a revelation, but she's already been one, in 2009's "An Education.") And while director Richard J. Lewis occasionally goes for broad strokes, he's aware that small moments are more important. Those make the movie, just as surely as they make a life.

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February 11, 2011
Michael Rechtshaffen Hollywood Reporter Top Critic
Acclaimed Canadian author Mordecai Richler's last and arguably greatest novel, "Barney's Version," has been transformed into a highly entertaining and arguably the most satisfying Richler screen adaptation to date.

The impeccably cast confessional, with a pitch-perfect Paul Giamatti leading the way, nimbly traverses the four decades in its lead character's eventful life with considerable exuberance, visual flair and, ultimately, grace.

Produced by Robert Lantos, who brought Richler's "Joshua Then and Now" to the big screen in 1985, and assuredly directed by Richard J. Lewis ("Whale Music"), the picture undoubtedly will draw kudos in its home and native land and likely beyond, buoyed by that virtuouso Giamatti performance.

Not since Richard Dreyfuss so capably inhabited the title role in 1974's "The Apprenticeship of Duddy Kravitz" has a Richler (the author died in 2001) lead character been brought to life as effectively as Giamatti's irascible, rumpled Barney Panofsky.

Hard to like but tougher to hate, Panofsky relives his warts-and-all memoirs, otherwise known as "the true story of my wasted life," encompassing several countries and an equal number of wives.

There's his early, bohemian existence in Rome with Mrs. Panofsky No. 1, the free-spirited Clara (Rachelle Lefevre), whom Barney marries when she becomes pregnant.

It ends, and Barney returns to his Montreal home -- Richler's signature stomping grounds -- getting a job at a cheesy TV production company and meeting and soon marrying the Second Mrs. P., a chatty, pampered Jewish princess (amusingly played by Minnie Driver).

To say the union is doomed is an understatement, given that he proceeds to meet the love of his life, the elegant, sophisticated Miriam (a luminous Rosamund Pike), right smack in the middle of his wedding reception.

With the support of his raucous cop father, Izzie (an absolutely terrific Dustin Hoffman), he eventually persuades Miriam to become the Third Mrs. P. and the mother of his two kids. (Barney's son, played by Jake Hoffman, is a dead ringer for his real-life dad, Dustin, circa "The Graduate.")

Considering Barney's lifelong penchant for insensitivity, he's still a long way off from a happily-ever-after ending.

As he demonstrated with his roles in "Sideways" and "American Splendor," Giamatti excels at playing difficult curmudgeons, but in "Barney's Version," he also possesses a stubborn vulnerability that's indispensable to the film's palpable poignancy.

His relationships to his fellow cast members are alternately comical, tragic and tender but somehow never quite as genuine as the bond he has with the elder Hoffman.

Working from a tidy but still expansive adaptation by Michael Konyves, Lewis integrates the various time passages as smoothly and efficiently as those lively character interactions.

After playing New York so many times, it's nice to see Montreal get to play itself, and the city's richly unique milieu, along with that of Rome and New York, has been lavishly captured by Guy Dufaux's vibrant cinematography and Claude Pare's warm, earthy production design.

As an added bonus, smaller roles are filled by a who's who of the Canadian film industry, including cameos by David Cronenberg, Denys Arcand, Atom Egoyan and Ted Kotcheff.

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July 1, 2011 | Rating: 2/4
David Nusair  Reel Film Reviews

Barney's Version (June 28/11)

A minor improvement over Mordecai Richler's nigh unreadable book, Barney's Version details the life and times of the incorrigible title character (Paul Giamatti) - with a particular emphasis on Barney's relationships with the various women in his life (ie his three wives). It's a premise that could've (and should've) been used as a springboard for a brisk character-based comedy, and it does seem, in the outset, that that's exactly what filmmaker Richard J. Lewis has accomplished. Giamatti delivers as engrossing and compelling performance as one might have expected, while the impressive supporting cast effectively injects bursts of color and energy into the proceedings. (Dustin Hoffman's scene-stealing turn as Barney's brutally frank father stands as an obvious highlight.) The movie's momentum takes a serious hit following the arrival of Minnie Driver's over-the-top character, however, as the actress, cast as Barney's caricature of a second wife, delivers a seriously grating performance that ultimately triggers the film's downfall - with the subsequent emphasis on sequences of a decidedly overlong and downright needless nature exacerbating the progressively less-than-engrossing atmosphere.

 

 

Scripter Michael Konyves' reliance on laughably inauthentic chunks of dialogue certainly doesn't help matters (eg "you really do wear your heart on your sleeve; now put it away, it's disgusting to look at"), and there inevitably reaches a point at which the relentlessly lighthearted vibe becomes impossible to stomach (ie one can't help but crave some substance and depth). The pervasive lack of substance proves effective at diminishing the emotional impact of the film's final scenes, which ultimately cements Barney's Version's place as a fairly misbegotten adaptation of a thoroughly underwhelming novel.

 



AUDIENCE REVIEWS

 

****½ Samuel B
January 7, 2012
I was hesitant to see Barney's Version, and I tried to read a page turner while it was playing, that did not last long. This is a great movie, with very strong and great performances from Paul Giamatii and also from Rosamund Pike. This is a love story, yes, and it is not a member of the Twilight Saga, but the latter is probably why it is so good. It seems real and true. We see the adult life of the protagonist and we are with him and against him at the same time. This dramedy will most likely not win over Twihards, but it is, nevertheless, a funny, sad and great picture I'm glad I didn't miss.

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**** Greg D
January 5, 2012
Maybe I am just a sap, or maybe I am just a sap for Paul Giamatti, but I thought Barney's Version was a successful life story of love and family. A few hysterical moments and a few tragic moments, parts of the film were somewhat better than the whole. The murder case didn't feel like it really needed to belong in the film but perhaps the death did. I am sure it is retold as it is written in the novel but it seems like an unnecessary mystery that is only presented for an extra level of audience amusement rather than a part of the film. The real star though is Giamatti who handles playing the love struck drunken hockey lover wonderfully and viewers can surely sympathize on a man who has made some errors and who has made some rights, but hey he is only human.

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****½  Sebastián S
January 2, 2012
Barney is a slave to his desires, you could also trade the word "desire" for "whim". The story of a nice guy with a heart but weak to temptation, a heartbreak story. And the movie is heartbreakingly beautiful, Dustin Hoffman seemed to understand it since his performance improved the movie in a way only a great actor can.
P.S. Giamatti deserved the Golden Globe he got and the Oscar he didn't get

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***** Susann E
January 2, 2012
This was the sweetest film. I loved it. The love story is touching, but the fater son relationship is just as moving.

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***** Majid S
January 2, 2012
it just gets better and better and better and... this movie deserves 5 stars.. loved it.. Paul Giamatti and Hoffman.. The best.. And just because of this movie, Rosamund Pike has become one of my favorites..=)

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***** Simone D
January 1, 2012
Great movie about life and you never know what can happen :)

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**** Luca B
 December 27, 2011
A good movie, not really a brilliant one.

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**½  Zack F
December 23, 2011
Barney's Version has an epic feel and length for a movie that doesn't need such epicness. Barney's begins as a great character piece, and a great story of a man's evolving romantic life, but as the extreme length keeps going the film turns up too many unnecessary plot turns creating a lost tone for the film. But despite being a film of too much, Paul Giamatti is not too much. He shows his talent in superb manner and is the one reason that makes you continue all the way through the movie.

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***½ Liam P
December 23, 2011
SUMMING IT UP:

It's all over the place but what life story isn't? Paul Giamatti is in top form and Rosamund Pike - seriously what does the woman have to do to get some awards attention - splendid as one of his put upon wives. The entire cast is good and despite an unnecessary ending the film leaves a contented feeling at its conclusion. Good without being great.

 

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