Blu-ray Review: BARNEY’S VERSION

J.C. De Leon

by: J.C. De Leon
July 12th, 2011

Based on the novel written by Mordechai Richler, BARNEY’S VERSION tells the story of Barney Panofsky from his perspective. Like many faux-autobiographical comedy/dramas, it's often hard to get a sense of true honesty in films of this type. But though this is the sort of problem a film like BARNEY’S VERSION may face, with a lead like Paul Giamatti, that issue isn’t present, and you’ll find yourself caring about Barney just as much as you would as if he was based on a real person.

Barney Panofsky (Paul Giamatti) is a tactless drunk who, after the dissolution of his first marriage, goes on about his life until he meets the woman who would become his second wife (Minnie Driver). It is at a wedding where, in between watching hockey and drinking with his friends, he meets and truly falls in love for the first time in his life with a woman named Miriam Grant (Rosamund Pike).

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There’s certainly more to the film than a thinly veiled plot outline can detail, and it can be a difficult film to get through, but being that it’s a film about one person's singular life, it could offer a lot for a viewer. BARNEY’S VERSION might even offer up to viewers a chance to appreciate the things they do have in their life as they watch the sometimes sad life of Barney Panofsky crumble before their very eyes. The Blu-ray comes with a decent set of extras, and in the end, make this a Blu-ray worth a purchase, especially for fans of Paul Giamatti and the wonderful work he’s capable of doing on screen.

Official list of extras:

-Audio Commentary: Director Richard J. Lewis, writer Michael Konyves, and producer Robert Lantos provide the audio commentary. There isn’t much here that isn’t on most audio commentaries, but depending on how the film moves you, this could be worth a listen.
-Behind the Scenes of Barney's Version
-Mordecai Richler: Barney's Version: Author of the book the film is based on reads selections from the novel.
-On the Red Carpet: A pretty neat and unique feature of the stars talking about the film at a red carpet premiere.
-92nd Street Y Q&A with Paul Giamatti & Anette Insdorf: A very nice and another unique feature of a Q&A session.
-Barney's Version Theatrical Trailer
-Previews: Of additional Sony titles.
-DVD Copy

Movie Grade: B
Extras Grade: A

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