Barney's Version (film)
|Directed by||Richard J. Lewis|
|Written by||Michael Konyves|
|Based on||Barney's Version|
by Mordecai Richler
|Produced by||Robert Lantos|
|Edited by||Susan Shipton|
|Distributed by||Entertainment One|
|Box office||$8.5 million|
Barney's Version is a 2010 Canadian comedy-drama film directed by Richard J. Lewis, based on the novel of the same name by Mordecai Richler. The film was nominated for the Golden Lion at the 67th Venice International Film Festival.
Barney Panofsky (Giamatti) is living with his best friend Boogie (Speedman) in Rome. He marries the mentally disturbed and unfaithful Clara Charnofsky (Lefevre) after she tells him she is pregnant with his child. Barney later finds out the child – delivered stillborn – is not his, and he demands they separate. Clara commits suicide, and a devastated Barney decides to return home to Montreal.
Barney soon meets the woman who becomes his nameless second wife (Driver), the daughter of a wealthy Jewish family. At their lavish wedding, Barney meets Miriam Grant (Pike) and immediately falls in love. He tells Miriam his feelings for her that night but she rejects him. Despite his marriage, Barney sends Miriam flowers and gifts. He later picks up Boogie, who is in the middle of detox therapy, for a few days at Barney's lake house. He eventually finds Boogie in bed with his wife. Barney is at first overjoyed that he has an excuse to divorce her and pursue Miriam, but questions Boogie's integrity. The two argue, firing rounds from Barney's gun into the air before Barney collapses onto his dock and passes out, and a drunk Boogie falls backwards into the lake. When Barney awakens, it appears that he has shot Boogie. A detective (Mark Addy) tries to beat a confession out of Barney until Barney's father, Izzy (Hoffman), intervenes. Barney continues to believe that Boogie ran away, and throughout the movie waits for him to reappear.
With his divorce finalized, Barney asks Miriam out on a date. He travels to New York City to meet her, and finally begin a relationship. The couple marry and have two children as Barney gets a job producing a television series. Izzy later dies in a brothel, causing Barney to laugh and cry and call his father a "King". Barney and Miriam live happily until, on another vacation to the lake house, Barney meets Blair (Bruce Greenwood), who works in radio, Miriam's old line of work. There is an immediate platonic connection between Blair and Miriam, much to Barney's noticeable consternation.
After Barney and Miriam's son, Michael, leaves the family home, Miriam informs Barney of her intention to return to work. He attempts to dissuade her but she persists and secures employment, thanks to support from Blair. Miriam begins work on a radio station but Barney misses her first on air interview – because he "was drunk and watching the hockey game, like has happened a thousand times before" – and is rude and dismissive to Miriam's colleagues. Miriam remains steadfastly faithful to him, but eventually his picaresque behaviour results in her taking a week-long visit to Michael's place in New York. While Miriam is absent, Barney gets drunk at a bar and ends up sleeping with a former actress on his show. Barney tells Miriam about his infidelity and the two divorce. She later marries Blair.
Barney, who displayed small signs of a deteriorating memory earlier in the film, forgetting where he had left his car on two occasions, now begins to show signs of an acute but unspecified form of memory loss. After Boogie's body is discovered near the lake house from an apparent sky diving accident, Miriam meets Barney for lunch in a favourite restaurant and offers to help as a friend. When she returns from the bathroom, Barney has paid for the meal but forgotten his wallet. She follows him and, by the time she catches up to him, he has forgotten that they were divorced. He speaks to her as if it was years earlier, assuming that they're still married and that their children are quite young.
Barney's condition worsens until his death. While his children are helping settle some of his affairs at the lake house, they observe a "water bomber" plane scoop up water from the lake and dump it on a fire on the mountainside, showing the children what had probably happened to Boogie. The final scene shows Miriam visiting Barney's grave, leaving roses at a tombstone bearing both of their names.
- Paul Giamatti as Barney Panofsky
- Dustin Hoffman as Israel "Izzy" Panofsky, the father
- Rosamund Pike as Miriam Grant, the third wife
- Minnie Driver as the second wife
- Rachelle Lefevre as Clara Charnofsky, the first wife
- Anna Hopkins as Kate Panofsky, the daughter
- Jake Hoffman as Michael Panofsky, the son
- Bruce Greenwood as Blair
- Mark Addy as Detective O'Hearne
- Paula Jean Hixson as Grumpy's Bartender
- Scott Speedman as Bernard "Boogie" Moscovitch
- Thomas Trabacchi as Leo
- Clé Bennett as Cedric
- Saul Rubinek as Mr. Charnofsky, the first father in-law
- Harvey Atkin as the second father in-law
- Macha Grenon as Solange, the soap opera actress
There were also cameos by Canadian directors Atom Egoyan (early director of Barney's soap opera Constable O'Malley of the North), David Cronenberg (later director of Barney's soap), Paul Gross (star in Barney's soap), Denys Arcand (Jean, the maître d' at both of Barney and Miriam's luncheons beside the duck pond at Montreal's Ritz-Carlton), and Ted Kotcheff (train conductor).
After being in development for 12 years, the film was released in September 2010 with Paul Giamatti in the title role. It was directed by Richard J. Lewis and produced by Robert Lantos from a screenplay by Michael Konyves. Filming took place in Montreal, Lake Memphremagog, Rome and New York. Special effects were produced by Modus FX in Montreal.
The film grossed $472,892 in Canada over its first few weeks. As of April 17, 2011, the film had grossed $4.3 million in the United States and a total of $8 million worldwide. Most of the worldwide box office was in Italy.
As of June 2020[update], the film holds a 78% approval rating on the review aggregation website Rotten Tomatoes, based on 136 reviews with an average rating 6.65 out of 10. The website's critics consensus reads: "With a magnificent performance by Paul Giamatti, Barney's Version offers much comedy and insight to the complexities of modern romance." It also has a score of 67 out of 100 on Metacritic, based on 33 critics, indicating "generally favorable reviews".
|Award||Date of ceremony||Category||Recipient(s)||Result|
|Academy Awards||February 27, 2011||Best Makeup||Adrien Morot||Nominated|
|Genie Awards||March 10, 2011||Best Picture||Nominated|
|Best Actor||Paul Giamatti||Won|
|Best Actress||Rosamund Pike||Nominated|
|Best Supporting Actor||Dustin Hoffman||Won|
|Best Supporting Actress||Minnie Driver||Won|
|Best Director||Richard J. Lewis||Nominated|
|Art Direction/Production Design||Claude Paré and Élise de Blois||Won|
|Costume Design||Nicoletta Massone||Won|
|Adapted Screenplay||Michael Konyves||Nominated|
|Original Score||Pasquale Catalano||Won|
|Best Makeup||Adrien Morot and Micheline Trépanier||Won|
|Golden Globes||January 16, 2011||Best Actor - Comedy/Musical Film||Paul Giamatti||Won|
|Jutra Awards||March 13, 2011||Best Screenplay||Michael Konyves||Nominated|
|Best Art Direction||Claude Paré||Nominated|
|Best Hair||Réjean Goderre||Won|
|Best Makeup||Réjean Goderre||Won|
|London Film Critics Circle Awards||February 10, 2011||Best British Actress||Rosamund Pike||Nominated|
|Best British Supporting Actress||Minnie Driver||Nominated|
|Satellite Awards||December 19, 2010||Best Supporting Actress||Rosamund Pike||Nominated|
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