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Home » Film

Barney’s Version

Submitted by Commandrea on February 10, 2024 – 4:48 pmNo Comment

Barney’s Version reminds me of a film from the 80s starring Richard Dreyfuss. No wait, it’s a film from the 70s starring Dustin Hoffman (who actually has a meaty supporting role here as Barney’s father). To the point, Barney’s Version stars Paul Giamatti in an unforgettable turn as a man looking back on his life, and his three wives.

Barney’s not a particularly nice guy; in fact he’s pretty much a douche. So when one wife offs herself you realize what reverse instinct of humiliation caused her to marry him in the first place. Likewise another wife might be a shrew, but that only makes them a natural match.  More surprising is a truly sweet and attractive lady that Barney manages to sweep off her feet. Rosamund Pike more than equals Giamatti in creating this believable and vulnerable character.

Hoffman makes periodic appearances and while proud of his son, none of the old man’s toughness (he’s a cop) or sense of humor seemed to have rubbed off on Barney. Scott Speedman, Minnie Driver and Rachel Lafevre co-star, and there’s other familiar faces in small parts. The make-up effects showing Giamatti as young (various wigs and facial hair) and he and Pike old is aces and appropriately nominated for an Oscar in that category (Adrien Morot).

Barney’s Version has drama, comedy, life and death all rolled up in a neat package. You eventually lean towards supporting team Barney, but only because you like his family who’ve somehow maintained their dignity and sense of worth even as Barney slowly loses his mind. BV has an even tone that never lets the humor outweigh the pathos and vice versa. Barney’s Version opens this weekend at the River Oaks Three.

- Michael Bergeron

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