Barney's Version doesn't travel well

Despite stellar performances from Paul Giamatti and crew, the sprawling screenplay lacks emotional impact.

A string of stellar performances can’t save Barney’s Version from the fact that it fails to distill Mordecai Richler’s final novel into something cinematically digestible. Paul Giamatti fully inhabits the character of Barney Panofsky, a prickly television producer with a taste for scotch and cigars and a knack for seducing beautiful women through sheer determination. In the 30-odd year period depicted onscreen, he collects three wives, buries friends and relatives and is suspected of murder. The sprawl of time and events proves too much to tackle, and while Dustin Hoffman, Minnie Driver, Rosamund Pike and Scott Speedman nail their supporting parts, the episodic, fly-by nature of the screenplay doesn’t allow audiences enough time to form an attachment to them or feel the film’s intended emotional impact.

Support The Coast

At a time when the city needs local coverage more than ever, we’re asking for your help to support independent journalism. We are committed as always to providing free access to readers, particularly as we confront the impact of COVID-19 in Halifax and beyond.

Read more about the work we do here, or consider making a donation. Thank you for your support!

Now Playing

Barney's Version is not showing in any theaters in the area.

Comments (0)

Add a comment

Add a Comment

What others are saying

  • Get more Halifax

    Our Thursday email gets you caught up with The Coast. Sign up and go deep on Halifax.