Barney’s Version


Starring: Paul Giamatti, Rosamund Pike, Dustin Hoffman

Cert: 15. RT: 132 mins

With Paul Giamatti recently picking up a Golden Globe for his performance in Barney’s Version, Richard J Lewis’s comedy-drama arrives with a fair bit of expectation attached.

So, does the actor who’s turned grouchy into an artform deserve the addition to his trophy cabinet? Most certainly, yes.

Giamatti is pitch-perfect as foul-mouthed, cigar-chomping TV producer Barney Panofsky who looks back over his life after the release of a book that dredges up his past.

Along the way we meet the three women he married – including wealthy second spouse (Minnie Driver) and the love of his life Miriam (Pike) – as well as the man who shares his misadventures, dad Izzy (Hoffman).

Throw in the fact that Panofsky’s friend Boogie (Scott Speedman) disappears, leaving the producer as the prime suspect and this is an intriguing, witty journey that keeps you on your toes.

Making the most of a cracking script (based on Mordecai Richler’s last novel), Driver, Hoffman and Pike are all memorable but it’s Giamatti who holds everything together.

Good for: Fans of Sideways