Box art for Barney's Version

Barney's Version

comedy, drama


Based on Mordecai Richler's award winning novel--his last and, arguably, bestBARNEY'S VERSION is the warm, wise and witty story of the politically incorrect life of Barney Panofsky.

Rotten Tomatoes® scores

  • Critic Score
    80%
  • Audience Score
    79%

common sense

PAUSE for kids age 17
Consumerism
0 out of 5
Drinking, drugs, & smoking
4 out of 5
Language
4 out of 5
Positive messages
0 out of 5
Positive role models
0 out of 5
Sex
4 out of 5
Violence
2 out of 5

Mature dramedy is well acted but may not interest teens.

what parents need to know

Parents need to know that this Paul Giamatti dramedy based on the novel by Mordecai Richler is heavy on strong language (including "f--k" and "s--t") and sexual innuendo and situations (including a scene of a topless woman). There's also some violence (a gun is brandished, and there's lots of arguing), as well as almost constant drinking and smoking, and one character is an addict. Teens may not be sucked in by the story of a middle-aged ne'er-do-well anyway.

what families can talk about

  • Families can talk about whether Barney is a strong or likeable character. What does he do to earn viewers' interest or admiration? What does he do wrong throughout his life? Does he learn anything? Do his mistakes make him more or less appealing?
  • Why do you think Barney and all his friends drink so much? What consequences does it have in their movie lives? What consequences might it have in real life?
  • Barney meets many women during his life. How does he know that Miriam is the one that he's truly in love with? What does he do to deserve her love?

movie reviews from Rotten Tomatoes®

  • Tomatometer®

    80%
    reviews counted: 0
    see all Barney's Version reviews
  • Audience

    79%

Audience Reviews

4 stars

Barney's version is probably my favourite and one of the best biopics of a fictitious character ever. Paul Giamatti plays the main character over a 30 year period, make up aside, he is completely convincing in every age he plays. Dustin Hoffman is also brilliant as his no nonsense ex-cop father. The story is pretty good too, ridiculous but not unbelievable. Funny and heartwarming throughout, a real pleasure that I'm glad I stumbled across. Why this film isn't so well known or wasn't so well received is beyond me. Giamatti won the Golden Globe but wasn't even nominated for the Oscar, how does that make any sense?

- SirPant, Wednesday, August 8, 2012

4 stars

Barney's version is probably my favourite and one of the best biopics of a fictitious character ever. Paul Giamatti plays the main character over a 30 year period, make up aside, he is completely convincing in every age he plays. Dustin Hoffman is also brilliant as his no nonsense ex-cop father. The story is pretty good too, ridiculous but not unbelievable. Funny and heartwarming throughout, a real pleasure that I'm glad I stumbled across. Why this film isn't so well known or wasn't so well received is beyond me. Giamatti won the Golden Globe but wasn't even nominated for the Oscar, how does that make any sense?

- SirPant, Wednesday, August 8, 2012

4 stars

The greatest feat presented in Barney's Version is that Paul Giammatti is able to make a flawed and frankly unsympathetic character seem not only sympathetic, but totally real. Reality is at the core of this film even though some sequences seem almost farcical. The ability of Giammatti, as Barney, Miriam Pike as the love of his life (wife #3, but who's counting), and Dustin Hoffman as Barney's pop, to make every single line seem revealing yet totally real is what raises the film from the rabble of romance type films. Not that this is strictly a romance film, as it is more of a "life study", spanning the majority of a man's life accenting the warts and foibles. I'm not going to get into the story itself, as there are more than a few surprises, but will instead limit myself to applauding the pacing and the script itself. Mirroring life, this film has its comic moments but it is in the depth of its relationships, between father and son (something that somehow is not repeated in the next generation), and between two close friends where the writing really stands out. In each case, there are built in expectations between them and the hurt of those failed expectations comes into focus, especially in the extended scene between Barney and his close friend. There are a million ways in which to present a story, and often there is more than one story in a film. In Barney's Version there is a use of flashback memories, which is something I usually don't care much for, but in this film it totally fits and makes the conclusion all the more poignant. There is an overarching story of a man's life and the circles around that life, but while this is being presented we see Barney - such a well fleshed out character study and a well earned Golden Globe for Giammatti. He has become the actor's actor and I truly believe that only he could have uttered the line "what's the matter honey, didn't I love you enough today" with just the right tone of innocence and heart required at that particular moment.

- paulsandberg, Saturday, July 7, 2012