BARNEY’S VERSION has all the winning characteristics of a great film. It is based on beloved Canadian author Mordecai Richler’s award-winning last novel; it is produced by Robert Lantos; and it has a cast worth bragging about including Paul Giamatti (who scored a Golden Globe nomination), Rosamund Pike, Minnie Driver, Rachelle Lefevre, Scott Speedman, Bruce Greenwood and Dustin Hoffman.
Giamatti stars as Barney Panovsky, a successful TV producer in Montreal. He is quite an imperfect man, but one who is difficult to hate for long. No matter how badly he seems to behave at times, he is absolutely endearing. We follow his tumultuous journey as he reflects on life, four decades of living, three marriages, and two children. He falls in love at the wrong time, wins the girl, makes the wrong choices, has his heart broken — he is even accused of murder. Just as is typical in life, Barney finds himself at a crossroads more than once. And he screws up more than once too.
Director Richard J. Lewis’ take is filled with astute observations and attention to detail, with drops of wit sprinkled all over the celluloid. Barney may be a destructive man, but we cannot help but feel for him – and root for him, too. After all, life is messy.
“Barney’s Version” is charming and moving. It is at once both sardonically funny and bitterly sad. It is a version you’re going to want to see.
Watch out for cameos from the likes of David Cronenberg, Denys Arcand, Saul Rubinek, Atom Egoyan, and Robert Lantos.
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