The publication of a book accusing him of murder leads schlock television producer Barney Panofsky (Paul Giamatti) to reflect on his tumultuous life--from his troubled first marriage to his best friend sleeping with his second wife to his one true love… and how he destroyed the happiest time in his life. By turns comic and self-lacerating, Panofsky is a richly drawn character given vivid life by Giamatti, who's built a remarkable career on prickly people (Sideways
, American Splendor
, John Adams
). Regrettably, the women in his life aren't as fully realized, but the strong performances from the actresses playing them (Rachelle Lefevre, Minnie Driver, and Rosamund Pike) do a lot to make up for the thinness of how they're written. Rounding out the cast is Dustin Hoffman as Panofsky's father, a crude but vigorous ex-cop who loves his son unreservedly. Adapted from an award-winning Canadian book, Barney's Version
feels, in the best sense, like a novel; small details and incidents build up to the picture of a man's life. The movie depicts that life without judgment, never manipulating the audience for cheap laughs or sentiment--and yet it is by turns wildly funny and achingly sad, largely due to Giamatti. He holds the viewer's attention effortlessly, quietly, never showboating his emotions or flaunting his intelligence. He's simply a superb actor, and this is a superb performance. --Bret Fetzer
Take a ride through the life and memories of Barney Panofsky, a hard-drinking, cigar-smoking, foulmouthed 65-year old hockey fanatic and television producer, as he reflects on his life's successes and (numerous) gaffes and failures as the final chapters of his own existence come sharply into focus.
Riche montréalais d’origine juive, homme impulsif et irascible, grand amateur de hockey et de cigares, buveur invétéré doté d’une franchise brutale, Barney Panofsky est un être d’extrêmes. Maintenant âgé et seul, Barney se remémore les grands moments de son existence. Une vie à l’image de cet homme passionné.