Monday, July 11, 2011

Monday Movie ~ Barney's Version

We rented a DVD of the movie Barney's Version last weekend. I'd been waiting for release of the DVD since reading about the film, which never made it to within 200 miles of our town.

Anything involving Paul Giamatti is a must-see for yours truly. He won a Golden Globe for this performance, but was passed over at the Oscars, possibly due to all the PR noise about The King's Speech. He's one of the best actors there is -arguably THE best. I enjoy, but am not overly impressed by De Niro, Colin Farrell, Jack Nicholson, et al, and actively dislike Tom Hanks (yes, I'm the one). Paul Giamatti plays the impossible roles, but makes them believable. Nicholas Cage, the other actor who plays impossible roles, makes them unbelievable.

Being a fan of Giamatti I've already posted on his natal chart HERE.
- He has Sun in Gemini by the way.

Barney's Version is an adaptation of the novel by Mordecai Richler. I haven't read the book, and am wary of doing so now in case it spoils the movie (reverse of the usual sentiment).

I notice that Richler was born on 27 January, same day as me - earlier year though. He died in 2001. Canadian and Jewish by birth, he was known for his acerbic (note: Saturn close to Mercury in Capricorn) yet comic tone, fascination with the absurdity of life and human nature - all of which come through clearly in Barney's Version - last of his 10 novels.

My husband had read the novel, and was able to clarify the rather mysterious clue thrown in during the final sequence. I'll say no more about that so as not to spoil it for others. The movie's theme, in a nutshell, is a 30-or-so year trawl through the life and loves of Barney Panofsky, who some might perceive as the consummate douchebag. Due to Paul Giamatti's kindly "aura" which I could not completely block out, I saw a risk-taking guy, loyal to his good friends, aware of his responsibilities, yet unable to supress an abiding romanticism. The die-hard romantic in him led him to fall in love at first sight with a guest at his second wedding!

He could also be curmudgeonly, awkward and selfish - yet always vulnerable (Giamatti does that so well!) Barney married three times, and divorced three times - not a particularly unusual pattern for someone in the entertainment industry as he was - producer of a tacky Canadian TV series. The colourful characters involved are what put Barney's story apart from the norm.

Scenes cover timelines and locations from 1970s bohemian Rome (in the novel I understand it's Paris), to New York and Montreal in the late 1990s. One of Barney's best friends from their bohemian days provides the mystery element in the movie, not solved until the final scene.....which had to be explained to me by well-read husband!

Female stars: Barney's wives are played by Rachelle Lefevre, Minnie Driver and Rosamund Pike. Dustin Hoffman plays Barney's father - brilliant little sketch: rough diamond of a Jewish ex-cop!

Hoffman's real-life son, Jake, plays Barney's son, and though there's no resemblance to Barney, there's plenty of likeness to Barney's Dad - naturally!

Good movie - great acting.

1 comment:

anyjazz said...

I enjoyed the book a great deal. The movie was well acted and scripted. They presented all the key elements just fine.