The picaresque and touching story of the politically incorrect, fully lived life of the impulsive, irascible and fearlessly blunt Barney Panofsky.
Writers: Mordecai Richler (novel), Michael Konyves(screenplay)
Director: Richard J. Lewis
Stars: Paul Giamatti, Rosamund Pike and Jake Hoffman
Runtime: 134 Minutes
Popcorn Score: Large Popcorn with Butter
What is this movie about? I ask this question no more than 20 minutes after I left the theatre only because it is about more than it should be and more than it needed to be. That being said, I thought that is was without a doubt one of the best five movies that I have seen of the 2010 Oscar season. It is an amazing story about a man with a very interesting life. Paul Giamantti was everything from hilarious to heart wrenching as the alcoholic yet lovable and bastardy Barney Panofsky. He actually makes you love him, laugh at him, loath him and pity him within the 132 minute runtime.
The story is about a man that is in and out of love and uncertain where he is going in his life. He falls hard in to something, thinking its love, but then always realizes it is nothing liked he had thought or hoped and returns to all he knows, his friends, and the best friend he has, the bottle. The story continues, after Barney divorces his first wife, “The Conversation Piece” played by Rachelle Lefevre, and he meets, and shortly after marries “The 2nd Mrs. P” played by Minnie Driver. She is a masters student and the daughter of a very wealthy Jewish family. During this courtship we meet Barney’s father Izzy played by Dustin Hoffman who does everything from spark the viewer with the best comedy in the movie, to portray the absolute opposite character of his son’s new father in law. He lightens the wedding reception be telling the rabbi old cop stories about whore houses. Barney quickly, very quickly, falls in love with his next wife “Miriam Grant-Panofsky” played by Rosamund Pike, and the love of his life at his wedding ceremony. It is one of the most powerful scenes when he realizes that it can really happen. Love at first site.
The movie does have amazing makeup rewarded by its academy award nod portraying 4 different decades of most of the characters, and I think it was overlooked for best actor by Giamantti. At one point I was going to grab my phone in the theatre and write down that this could be the best movie I’ve seen in the last 12 months. I hesitated, and then it became more than it needed to be. I loved the story and the acting was brilliant, I chuckled more than most comedy’s and I felt more than I did in every movie I’ve seen this year other than, The Kings Speech and 127 hours. I wish it could have simplified itself and been what it needed to be; a great story about a man, his successes, his hardships, but it carried on a little too much for me, with a few too many layers to the story to make it the best movie of the year. I would rank it as a top 5 of this year.
Large Popcorn with Butter.