Barney’s Version (2010)


At the heart of Barney’s Version is a powerful performance from Paul Giamatti, as an ageing curmudgeon looking back over his past. He blunders his way through two marriages—to a tortured artist (Rachelle Lefevre) and a Jewish socialite (Minnie Driver)—and has no direction until he meets the beautiful Miriam (Rosmund Pike). Only his relationships with his father (Dustin Hoffman) and best friend (Scott Speedman) are constant, but even these are not straightforward.

Although billed as a comedy—and there are plenty of laugh-out-loud moments, usually involving Barney’s alcohol-fuelled rage—the central idea of this story is the sobering truth that our worth is measured by how we treat the people we love. That Barney’s self-destructive personality skews this realisation is tragedy itself. But the tone is light and the all-star cast play their parts to perfection.

4 stars

UK Release Date: January 28, 2011