Life has been a little rough for most of us lately, what with finals week right around the corner. After a long day of slaving over the computer and text books, it is important to seek a little rest and relaxation. Sometimes (especially on a snowy day) we just need to go to the movies and watch a pleasant story about an interesting characterâ€™s life. Sometimes we just need a few chuckles to release the tension.
Paul Giamatti (â€œSidewaysâ€, â€œAmerican Splendorâ€ and â€œCold Soulsâ€) is always good for laughs in most anything he does. Here he stars as Barney Panofsky in â€œBarneyâ€™s Version,â€ the story of a man who is impulsive, blunt and socially backwards at times. The main themes of the story are based around love, friendship and Barneyâ€™s loss of memory. At Barneyâ€™s second wedding he meets the love of his life, and he never stops pursuing her. He is also accused of murder after an incident with his best friend, Boogie. Not even Barney knows the truth behind Boogieâ€™s death until years later. The story is told through the eyes of Barney, who is suffering from Alzheimerâ€™s Disease and dealing with the confusing life he now leads.
Giamatti won a Golden Globe for Best Actor – not surprising given his superb performance. He will have you laughing out loud throughout the film. The rest of the cast, which includes Dustin Hoffman as Barneyâ€™s father, Izzy (Minnie Driver), Rosamund Pike and Scott Speedman, also play well in their roles and provide some of the laughs too.
This film is not a serious piece of literature to be picked apart and analyzed to death, however it is also not merely empty entertainment. â€œBarneyâ€™s Versionâ€ is a quality story that is well written and wonderfully performed and allows us to sit back and enjoy with a big bucket of popcorn.Â If nothing else, itâ€™s a fun way to spend a couple hours away from the books.
â€œBarneyâ€™s Versionâ€ plays daily at the Ashland Varsity Theater. For showtimes call 541-482-3321.