Paul Giamatti puts his deep, soulful reservoir of prickly empathy, comic physicality, and beguiling unattractiveness to marvelous use as Barney, a Montreal curmudgeon who has made a pretty good life for himself producing a lowest-common-denominator TV show. Barney’s Version is just that: 65-year-old Barney remembering how he became the angry, volatile, full-of-life man he is now. The movie compresses and reconfigures Mordecai Richler’s novel to make all this easier to handle. But the slippery subjectivity of Barney’s memory (he’s in the early stages of Alzheimer’s) never really manifests itself, and the movie feels more conventional because of it. But that’s a minor quibble, mostly for fans of the book. The movie foregrounds how one man’s interactions with the people who matter most to him his father, his best friend, and the woman he cherishes above them all define him, in all his wonderfully misanthropic glory.
Director: Richard J. Lewis
Writer: Mordecai Richler and Michael Konyves
Producer: Robert Lantos
Cast: Rachelle Lefevre, Rosamund Pike, Dustin Hoffman, Paul Giamatti, Minnie Driver, Bruce Greenwood, Saul Rubinek, Scott Speedman, Mark Addy and Jake Hoffman