BARNEY’S VERSION Review
I think it’s probably not a very good sign when you’re tempted to look at your watch while seeing a film, just so you know if there’s any chance it will be over soon. But unfortunately that’s exactly what happened to me when I saw BARNEY’S VERSION.
Now don’t get me wrong, the acting in this movie was top-notch and the performances were what saved it from being truly detestable for me. But as I sat there watching the story meander its way through the title character’s life, I kept wondering what we were supposed to get from all of it.
For me, a film has to bring something, anything, to the table for me to appreciate. It doesn’t have to be all happiness and light, nor does it have to be all stunts and action or drama and sadness. But it does have to be something. This one had nothing. Barney is not a very likeable character and the trouble is, he pretty much stays that way throughout the entire film. He never seems happy for very long and I was always puzzled why that was.
The man marries two women who are pretty awful and when he finally meets his true love, I thought that maybe we were getting somewhere with the story. Barney runs to the woman of his life after meeting her for just a few moments and falling head over heels in love in an instant. When he goes to her to tell her this he revels in the fact that, for the first time in his life, he’s truly in love. He invites her to join in his joy but not once does he ever ask her how she feels. It was as if he just assumed she would love him too and frankly I never could figure out exactly why she eventually did.
After Barney goes off to live what should be a perfect life, there’s still not much that happens after that. Even the mystery that is presented somewhere around the middle of the film (which is resolved near the end), didn’t do anything for me. When they finally showed us what really happened I shrugged my shoulders and said “so what?”. By then I really couldn’t care less.
Like I said the performances were great though. None of these characters are very likeable and each actor dove into their roles with such gusto that I pretty much despised them all, which is saying something considering I’m a fan of everyone in the film. So the fact that they could make me dislike them so much must mean that they were acting their socks off.
Now just to be fair though, I think I should mention that the preview I saw for this film may be to blame for all of this. What I saw made it seem liked this was going to be a quirky comedy/drama (more comedy than drama) with some interesting characters. Had I known that it would basically be a dreary look at one man’s life, I might have felt differently about it.
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