Barney's Version

Barney's Version, the movie adaptation of acclaimed Canadian author Mordecai Richler's final novel, is an entertaining, witty and fun take on life's indirect ways with some characters.

Charmingly told from the point of view of the man himself, artist-turned-businessman Barney Panofsky shares with the audience the tale of how he won and lost the loves of his life – first wife Clara (Rachelle Lefevre), second wife Mrs P (Minnie Driver), and third wife Miriam (Rosamund Pike) – as he transverses through as many countries as the number of wives he collects.  

The cast performs adequately but, most crucially, Paul Giamatti brilliantly and with ease, it seems, brings to life the difficult lead character of Richler's novel; Panofsky is insensitive yet not exactly a jerk, stubborn yet vulnerable and easy with love as seen with his quick marriage with Mrs P yet true to his feelings for Miriam. Giamatti's chemistry with Dustin Hoffman who plays his dad in the film is evident as well. Cinematographer Guy Dufaux, too, brings out the uniqueness of Montreal, a city often overlooked by Hollywood.

For the movie buffs, here are some interesting facts! Canadian filmmakers Denys Arcand, David Cronenberg, Atom Egoyan, and Ted Kotcheff appear as cameos in the film as a maitre d', directors working for Barney, and a train conductor respectively. Also, Barney's son played by Jake Hoffman is a dead ringer for the elder Hoffman in the film.

We say, with an interesting though straightforward plot, as well as a great cast and crew, the 130-minute Barney's Version is worth the weekend ticket.

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