One of the best - and yet overlooked - movies of 2010, Barney's Version is now out on DVD and Blu-Ray. The Paul Giamatti-starring film garnered a Best Actor Golden Globe, but was thoroughly dismissed at the Oscars, earning only a nomination for Best Makeup. Barney's Version is a powerful, engaging and wonderfully acted drama deserving of much more recognition than it received.
Giamatti stars as Barney Panofsky, a blunt, politically incorrect and alcoholic television producer who reflects on his own life, most notably his several marriages. At the reception for his second wedding, he meets the girl of his dreams - who isn't the bride. Years later, he's married to her, but even perfect matches don't make for perfect relationships.
Barney's Version marks a triumphant theatrical debut for long-time director Richard J. Lewis and writer Michael Konyves, who adapted the 1997 Mordecai Richler novel. The movie is an engaging, moving and at times funny drama that effectively blends together multiple decades and stories.
The poignant drama succeeds largely due to Giamatti's performance, which is simply breathtaking. Giamatti takes full advantage of his character's complex demeanor; he's gruff, irritable and at times nasty, yet likable and relatable. 2010 was an extremely competitive year for acting, but it's a shame he didn't receive an Oscar nomination for his performance.
The supporting cast is also excellent. Dustin Hoffman turns in one of his finest performances in recent years, despite a relatively small amount of screen time. Rosamund Pike also is at her best.
Barney's Version is an excellent movie with great performances by its cast. Highly recommended.
Review by Erik Samdahl unless otherwise indicated.
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