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The story of Barney Panofsky and his many loves and wives. With his father, Izzy as his sidekick, Barney takes us through the many highs, and a few too many lows, of his long and colorful life. Not only does Barney turn out to be a true romantic, he is also capable of all kinds of sneaky acts of gallantry, generosity, and goodness when we, and he, least expect it. His is a gloriously full life, played out on a grand scale. And, at its center stands an unlikely hero, the unforgettable Barney Panofsky.
Drama - This decades-spanning drama is a major showcase for star Paul
Giamatti. Co-stars such as Dustin Hoffman have much smaller roles.
The target audience is adults, and mature subject matter, language,
and sexual situations make the film inappropriate for children.
PROFANITY: 19 F-words, 14 S-words, 9 GD's, a number of others. SEX/NUDITY: Brief sex and unrelated nudity. VIOLENCE: Punches and pushes. DRUGS/ALCOHOL: Alcohol, tobacco, marijuana. ACTION: None. COMEDY: Some comic lines.
The story of the politically
incorrect life of Barney Panofsky (Paul Giamatti), who meets the love of his
life (Rosamund Pike) at his wedding - and she is not the bride. A candid
confessional, told from Barney's point of view, the film spans three decades and
two continents, taking us through the different acts of his unusual history.
The reason that Barney must tell his story now - or, at least his version of it
- is that his sworn enemy has just published a tell-all book that dredges up the
more compromising chapters of Barney's past: the many, often murky
entrepreneurial schemes that lead to his success; the three marriages, all of
them terminated; and, most problematically, the mysterious, as-yet-unsolved
disappearance of Barney's best friend, Boogie, a possible murder for which
Barney remains the prime suspect. Since his memory sometimes fails him, and
because he has the unfortunate habit of getting blind drunk at pivotal moments,
Barney leads us on this somewhat unsteady walk down memory lane, not only to
explain his life to others, but also to explain it to himself.
Mostly, we learn about Barney by witnessing his three marriages, each
representing, like the rings of a circus, different acts of his life. There is
his first wife, Clara (Rachelle Lefevre), a flame-haired, flagrantly unfaithful
free spirit with whom Barney briefly lives la vie de Boheme in Rome. Then, after
returning home to Montreal, Barney marries the Second Mrs. P., (Minnie
Driver), a wealthy Jewish Princess who shops and talks incessantly, barely
noticing that Barney is not listening. It is at their lavish wedding that Barney
meets, and starts pursuing, Miriam (Rosamund Pike), the woman who will become
his third wife, the mother of his two children, and the love of his life.
Throughout their life together Barney is believed by many including, at times,
himself to have murdered Boogie (Scott Speedman), the friend whom he both
adores and envies, who simply vanishes one day, along with Barney's youth.
In telling us, as he calls it, the true story of my wasted life, Barney is
honest to a fault, owning up to every one of his flaws and failings with a
self-lacerating wit that positively dares us not to like him. However, it's
impossible not to forgive someone as smart, funny, and self-aware as Barney. Not
only does he turn out to be an unrepentant romantic man, as his lifelong
devotion to Miriam attests, he is also capable of all kinds of sneaky acts of
gallantry, generosity, and goodness when we and he least expect it. Far from
wasted, his is a gloriously full life, played out on a grand scale. And, at
the center of his story stands an unlikely, but unforgettable, hero--Barney