#26 / 365 – ‘Barney’s Version – 134 mins
Cinema Challenge #9 / 115
Barney’s Version is the personal epic story of a succesful Canadian TV producer, Barney Panofsky wonderfully portrayed by Paul Giamatti which is told in flashback over 40 years by the man himself, who is so flawed almost on every front by the vices of smoking and heavy drinking, but ultimately he never loses his passion for love. After one failed marriage to the unstable Clara (Rachelle Lefevre) The story moves on to Barney meeting, and marrying, wife number two the hyperactive Mrs. P (Minnie Driver) who talks, talks and talks some more. It’s at this wedding reception (he’s always making the wrong choices at the wrong time) that he meets the love of his life Miriam endearingly played by Rosamund Pike and to which there is there is wonderful spontaneity moment played to great effect.
The first half zips along quite steadily playing out as a grown up comedy drama, but once the second half come rounds the pace is slowed down slightly as the emotional weight you would come to expect in a life-story kicks into gear where Barney’s life takes a downward spiral.
Despite it not be being particularly original in its execution and overruns by at least 15 minutes, the film provides plenty of good solid drama backed up by some clever dialogue. Much of the laughter throughout comes from Barney’s offbeat Jewish father Izzy played brilliantly by Dustin Hoffman who almost steals every scene he’s in.