Barney's Version Review

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Barney Panofsky (Giamatti), an impulsive, cigar-chaining Canadian TV producer, is a hopeless romantic at heart. The only problem? He releases it on the day of his second wedding. And the woman is not his wife.


Director Richard J. Lewis' picaresque portrait of TV producer Barney Panofsky (Paul Giamatti), a blunt, irascible grouch, is a delight, a seemingly freewheeling journey through Barney’s memories of a life that took in two disastrous marriages before he met the love of his life, elegant radio presenter Miriam (Rosamund Pike). Giamatti and Pike excel, with more than able support from Dustin Hoffman (as Barney’s dad, Izzy) and Minnie Driver as the second Mrs. P, while Michael Konyves’ screenplay is sharp and spiky, deftly blending wit with grit. Barney’s journey runs the gamut of moods from broad humour to real tragedy, and while such tonal shifts could in less accomplished hands have meant disaster, here they blend perfectly — the plot’s twists and turns, constantly surprising, adding up to a beguiling, touching, grown-up piece of filmmaking.

While perhaps a touch overlong and with plot strands that don't hang together as well as they might, this is remains a triumph, illuminated by a terrific leading man turn from Paul Giamatti.