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Take a ride through the life and memories of Barney Panofsky, a hard-drinking, cigar-smoking, foulmouthed 65-year old hockey fanatic and television producer, as he reflects on his life's successes and (numerous) gaffes and failures as the final chapters of his own existence come sharply into focus.Written by
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Blair, I'd like to speak with my wife.
Oh, Barney, it's 3:00 in the morning.
Put my wife on the phone.
She's not your wife and I'm not waking her.
All right. Well, then just ask her what she wants me to do with all these nude photos I have of her. Ah, come to think of it, you actually might want them, if only to see what Miriam looked like in her prime.
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Barney's Version is based upon the novel of the same name by Mordecai Richler. The film spans several decades showing us the life of a man named Barney Panofsky. The film does not hold back Barney's flaws as he is very foul mouthed, speaks his mind (whether you want him to, or not), drinks, smokes cigars and a lot of the time is an ego centric jerk. However during the years we see Barney change in some ways as he meets different women in his life and deals with family and friends as well as humour and tragedy that everybody can say would happen in their life and has. The trailers for Barney's Version, or at least the ones that I have seen being played on the television, make the film look like a raucous comedy, when really it couldn't be any farther from the truth, or what is really at the heart of the film. There is a great deal of comedy in this film as we laugh together with Barney and his antics and sometimes laugh right at him for his unsophisticated and ignorant ways. However as I said above we do get to see many different sides of Barney as the film goes along and after awhile I stopped thinking that this character is full of himself and kind of a jerk. Instead, I realized and I think the point of the writing and the film itself was to present him as a normal human being with some very good points and also some very obvious flaws, or things they need to work on, which in a sense I think describes just about anybody you can think of. By giving Barney a human side and allowing us the viewer to care for him in moments even when we don't want to, I feel it really enhances the film and our relationship with him and the other characters while watching it. I love when films do not just present characters as one dimensional and having no real flaws, or struggles and they just fit every perfect Hollywood hero out there. I find that when they do that it is so unbelievable and it is harder to like, care, or be interested in the characters because of this. I am so glad that Barney's Version took the opposite route. By not only caring for Barney in the film we get to care about his family and the circumstances that will either be the most joyous in his life, or the most heartbreaking and we are there every minute of it and it will keep us fascinated, concerned and move us sometimes into laughter and at other times close to tears. This film is a real powerfully emotional film. Yes there is the comedy aspect, but it goes so beyond that by showing the inevitable difficulties we will all end up facing in life and I think because it is done so strongly here, it makes us reflect on our own lives and the choices we have made so far no matter how old, or young you are and whether those choices have been good, or just the opposite. The writing of the characters and what makes them so human is one of the film's strongest points because they all have wonderfully different personalities and are all a joy to watch as we watch their lives unfold before us. The acting is also wonderful here especially by Paul Giamatti, who plays Barney in what I would call one of the best male performances of 2010. He embodies the role so perfectly and we can see the emotion, the hurt, the humour and everything coming out of this brilliant performance. The supporting actors and actresses are all very good here as well. I was so pleased at what an involving film this was. It took me away from my own world and thoughts and put me instead into Barney's world and made me laugh, cry and reflect with them and what a wonderful experience that was. Barney's Version is not only entertaining, but also deeply human and full of humour and tragedy that will both touch our hearts and leave us with what I think is a wonderful and insightful night out at the movies. Barney's Version is one of the best films of 2010 and I hope both American and Canadian audiences will embrace it and go out to see this wonderful gem.
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