Director(s): Richard Linklater
Available Quality: DivX
IMDB Rating: 6.2 out of 10 (233 votes)
In small-town Texas, the local mortician strikes up a friendship with a wealthy widow, though when he kills her, he goes to great lengths to create the illusion that shes alive.
EephusPitch (20 May 2013)
Jack Black inhabits the character of Bernie Thiede, a fastidious,slightly epicene, extremely civic minded assistant mortuary director,who becomes enmeshed in the extremely demanding clutches of thewealthiest widow of Carthage, Texas. All of the performances in thisfilm are spot on brilliant, but most especially those of the chorus ofCarthage's upstanding citizenry, who are all anxious that Berniereceive justice, tempered strongly with mercy. This film marks thefirst time I've enjoyed seeing Matthew McConaughey on screen sinceDAZED AND CONFUSED; perhaps he should work with Richard Linklater moreoften.
classicsoncall (19 May 2013)
At one point in the story it was mentioned that Carthage, Texas is the'Squirrel Hunting Capital of the World'. On a couple of occasions,Shirley MacLaine's character, Marjorie Nugent, is shown meticulouslychewing her food, and she looks just like - a squirrel. Ergo, part timemortician Bernie Tiede (Jack Black) decides to go squirrel hunting. Itshould all make sense, right? I really wasn't very impressed by this picture, it wasn't a comedyreally, and it wasn't a drama. Though I find Jack Black to be OK as anentertainer, I'm not really a fan, so those who call this his careerhigh point might be on to something, I just don't know what. Try this -Jack Black as Bernie Tiede, or Daniel Day-Lewis as Lincoln. I'm notsure we're even considering the same universe here.It wasn't until I watched the extras on the DVD that it clicked with methat this was based on a true story and that the unending stream ofcharacters giving their testimonials were actual residents of Carthage.What's dismaying to me is how far over the cliff we've evolved as asociety where people not only can't, but won't see the differencebetween right and wrong based on surface characteristics. Like the ladywho really, really, REALLY believed he was innocent. Personally, Ithought Bernie was going to be found not guilty as well, butfortunately some semblance of sanity prevailed and he wound up payingfor his crime. But I wouldn't have been surprised if it went the otherway.
tavm (19 May 2013)
Just watched this Richard Linklater film on Netflix disc with mymother. We both liked this docudrama about one Bernie Tiede, anassistant funeral director who's popular in the small town of Carthage,Texas, due to his involvement in community activities like the localtheater scene. He especially spends lots of playtime with one MarjorieNugent, an elderly rich woman who's not very nice to others. Based onan article by Skip Hollandsworth who co-wrote the screenplay withLinklater, this movie gives an empathetic view of Bernie, played in themovie by the charismatic Jack Black, and has Shirley MacLaine play Ms.Nugent as mostly off her meds! In other words, quite the cuss! Thenthere's Matthew McConaughey as prosecutor Danny Buck, whose later trialconcerning Tiede gives him a great closing argument in presenting hisside of the story. And there's also many fine interviews with the manylocal townspeople of Carthage that provide many funny anecdotes. So onthat note, I recommend Bernie.
cathys848 (18 May 2013)
If you have ever had a relationship with an individual who suffers fromborderline personality disorder, you will know what it feels like to beBernie!BPD's have a pathological defense against abandonment that isdestructive to themselves as well as others. (an emotional sunburn)Who best to play this role than Shirley MaClaine?She was described by neighbors as being "conniving, demanding, pullingthe heads off dolls as a child, condescending, possessive" as well ashaving a pathological defense against abandonment . She screamed "Ihate you don't leave me" just like the book with this title.Jack Black is perfectly cast as Bernie the helpful funeral director whoattempts to befriend the unhappy widow after her husband's death. Notknowing the fish tank that she was swimming in, Bernie was duped intohaving a relationship with her. (important to name the disorder)It was push/pull/black/white/and no off button from the beginning oftheir relationship..However, Bernie believed in the higher angels of everyone including thebpd and this was his downfall. This is true to form to the real Jack Black whom I met a local SantaBarbara boutique. He asked me a total stranger what kind of flowers topick out for his girlfriend.Staying with a borderline, you can become borderline which is on theborder of neurosis and psychosis and the homicidal and suicidal ragethat goes along with it.It is not surprising that Bernie had a psychotic break and kills her .This is a fantasy of some therapists when meeting up with a borderlinewho are either at your feet or at your throat.(Analyze This, What About Bob?)
Mitch_Rockwell (16 May 2013)
Bernie is a story so bizarre it must be true. In the small town ofCarthage, Texas, funeral director Bernie Tiede murdered the elderlyMarjorie Nugent. The stranger than fiction of it all begins when afterthis act, Bernie continues to manage her affairs while lying to thetownsfolk and deceiving them into thinking she is still alive. Itbecomes stranger when he maintains this ruse for several months. Thestrangest part of it all is when he's found out, no one is outraged andwanting to see him stand trial. In fact, the townsfolk are so in lovewith Bernie that they paint the man prosecuting him, Danny Buck, assomewhat of a villain for even wanting Bernie to face jail in the firstplace.This is a very bizarre true story, and writer/director RichardLinklater portrays it in an appropriately unique fashion. Rarely theone to go the conventional route, Linklater uses a blend ofsemi-fictionalized recreations of the lives of Bernie and Marjoriealong with interview footage of the real people of Carthage, as theygive their own thoughts on the two of them and the events thattranspired under their very noses. Seeing the people talk about Bernie,putting him up on this pedestal of being a lovely community man whowould be "first on the list of people going to heaven", the film takeson this eerie atmosphere that is discomforting but absolutelyfascinating. This man is a murderer, of an old woman no less, and yetthey still treat him the same as they always did.Linklater brings in Jack Black, Shirley MacLaine and MatthewMcConaughey to portray the fictionalized versions of Tiede, Nugent andBuck, along with a cast of supporting actors who are so convincingly intune with the Carthage way that I had trouble figuring out who were thereal townspeople and who were the actors. Linklater tunes in sothoroughly to this bizarre behavior of the town that everything moldstogether in such a fluid fashion and the whole thing becomes thissemi-documentary account of this incredibly fascinating story. Theheadline actors do some of their finest work in years (or of theircareers, certainly in the case of Black) under the direction ofLinklater here and create characters who feel unique and just as realas those actual townspeople.There were times where I felt that maybe it painted a little bit toomuch of a sympathetic light on Tiede, but in a way that works best ofall as it's exactly how the town saw him as well. Linklater isn't adirector who I can say I've been particularly fond of over his career,but he's always managed to be interesting and it's no surprise herethat he took an unconventional approach to this story and made it work.Led by a career best performance from Black, who so thoroughly embodiesthis charming and slightly off person, Bernie is something you've gotto see to believe.
capone666 (15 May 2013)
BernieThe best part of dating a senior citizen is that you have from 5 p.m.to 5 a.m. the next morning to cheat on them.However, loyalty is only one of the many attributes the undertaker inthis docu-dramedy posses.Arriving in a small Texan town, the gregarious Bernie (Jack Black)quickly lands a position at the local mortuary, where his stirringsermons and angelic voice woe mourners. Although single, Bernie spends inordinate amounts of time with Marge(Shirley MacLaine), a recent widow and the town's richest resident.But when Marge goes missing, and her estranged family comes looking forher, Bernie must concoct a pretext to prevent the D.A. (MatthewMcConaughey) from uncovering the truth about her whereabouts.Part quirky mockumentary, part horrify crime drama, this fact-basedyarn highlights a brilliant performance by Black.Incidentally, when you date a senior you get invited to all theswankiest D-Day ceremonies. (Yellow Light)vidiotreviews.blogspot.ca
sailingsmot (15 May 2013)
I had the privilege of seeing this film in Austin last month. Mr.Linklater was among the thousands devastated by the fires in Bastropcounty and with his hard work and help from Jack Black and crew theyturned the screening into a fundraiser to help the fire victims. Theyraised over $155,000. It was a great event. The movie was the bestpart. If you live or have lived in a small town anywhere in Americayou'll 'get' this movie and you won't be able to stop laughing. Ifyou're in Texas or you hate Texas, it'll be just that much better. Thecharacters are real, the acting is superb. Jack is at the top of hisgame and Mathew did an outstanding job. He played his role right on theedge, always close to going over the top but never getting there.Shirley is a gem and acted like I've never seen her before. Thank youRichard for your film and your efforts in Bastrop. My farm survived,but too many friends lost everything. Oh, and thanks for letting me bein this film. Woohoo that's me at the end Ma!!
sgphoto (14 May 2013)
I only have one question. Why didn't Jack Black get an Oscar? Black'sperformance was spot-on and he's never been better. His immersion inhis character was as close to Billy Bob Thorton in Slingblade as I'veever seen. I don't impress easy, but Jack was Bernie. His singing anddancing, walk, talk, mannerisms, and speech patterns are a tribute tohis ability to posses the role.If Jack never does another movie, he's solid gold forever with thismovie. The supporting cast from Shirley McClaine to Matthew Mcconaugheyand all the townspeople were superb, direction was unobtrusive, editingwas natural, and the styling was perfection.A tip of my hat to everyone connected to this golden masterpiece, andJack Black's star is shining in the heavens.Free Bernie! and more great scripts for Jack Black.
Quietb-1 (07 May 2013)
Jack Black will get award buzz, but think Golden Globe not Oscar. Herehe plays a small town assistant funeral director in the style of RodSteiger's Mr. Joyboy in "The Loved One".Colorful characters talk directly to the camera in pseudo documentarystyle. It works. Shirley Maclane deserves credit for being bad andlooking worse on the screen.Jack Black doing "The Music Man" was a fun. The movie is a tad long anddrags a bit during the courtroom scene. The photos and clips during theend credits are worth staying for. It's a small movie that is worthseeing.
Muti R Sufi (06 May 2013)
Im not sure if this was a comedy, a drama, a dramady or a tragedy, butit was engaging throughout regardless. What makes it so hard to pegdown is that its based on a true story, but maybe its OK if it cant bequite pegged down. Regardless, the performances of its starring castincluding Shirley Mcclain and Matthew Mcconaughey, but especially JackBlack were absolutely outstanding. If for no other reason, this filmwas worth watching, maybe a few times, just to truly capture the depthof the performances put forth here. Oddly, this isn't a film that evergot too much buzz because of its modest budget and minimal advertising,but personally I believe it deserves another look by many who may noteven know it exists. Just because it defies a typical categorizationdoesn't mean it doesn't excel in any number of them. But please don'tget me wrong, it is surely weird as hell!
Russ Evans (04 May 2013)
Finally got to see this amazing film over the weekend. I wasn't surewhat to expect, not a huge fan of MacLaine and even less ofMcConaughey, but wow! From the opening scene to the closing credits,this film flat-out delivers.From the quirky cast of townspeople - which in and of themselves arecompletely worth the price of admission - to the two co-stars and theIncredible Mr Black, this film was perfection.Those of you who love the traditional jack Black, there is plenty ofmusical comedy to keep you happy, no worries there. His renditions ofclassic gospel songs equals anything he has done to date! MAJOR kudosto the casting team on this one, you nailed it! One complaint - how didMcConaughey get first billing on the "BERNIE" page on IMDb?? ReallyIMDb, really?? SEE THIS FILM!!
planktonrules (04 May 2013)
I sat down to watch this film at 2am--assuming I'd just watch a littleand then go to bed. However, I just couldn't stop watching. And, soonmy wife joined me and she, too, stayed up WAY later than she planned.Why? Because this film is fascinating from start to finish and is trulyunique. It's the true story of Bernie Tiede and his BIZARRE, andeventually fatal, relationship with Marjorie Nugent--a woman hated byjust about everyone--and eventually by Bernie as well. Now here's therub--despite Bernie having killed Marjorie, no one in the town seemedto really think this was a bad thing. After all, the folk thought thatshe WAS a horrible person and, if Bernie did do it, it couldn't havebeen THAT bad! After all, they reasoned, he's such a wonderful and niceguy.Had this been all there was to the story, it really wouldn't have beenthat entertaining (though it would have been pretty bizarre). However,the filmmaker (Richard Linklater) constructed the film in such awonderful way that the film cannot help but hook you. In a WEIRD move,he has many of the actual townsfolk interviewed and inserted throughoutthe film. A few were actually actors--most were just folks who lovedBernie and couldn't stand Marjorie and wanted to talk about it! And so,the film consists of these interviews as well as actors playing out thestory--making it a documentary...of sorts. It also helped Linklater andthe movie that the actors, particularly Jack Black, did a wonderfuljob. And, is helped that the writers (one of which was Linklaterhimself) did such a dandy job. In particular, I loved how the film gotthe sound of the Southern Bible Belt folks. I am VERY familiar withthis region and the conversations they had made me laugh because theysounded so true--such as the women in the Bible study who were debatingif Jesus turned the water into REAL ALCOHOLIC wine! I also adored theguy who described the various regions at the beginning of thefilm--priceless and VERY funny--especially when he was describingAustin! So, how truthful is the film? Well, according to an article that mywife and I read by one of Marjorie's relatives, VERY true and veryrealistic. I was surprised that they didn't complain about how horribleshe and the other family members seemed in the film! And, they, too,thought Bernie was a nice guy despite his having murdered Marjorie! By the way, if you get a chance, you can read through Bernie Tiede'sweb blog--all the way from his prison cell! Surprisingly, it seems(according to the web pages) that he has a LOT of support for hisrelease--including from Black and Linklater. Weird.Overall, a brilliantly made and highly original film. I have no idea ifthe film will be nominated for any awards, but it should. Linklater andBlack deserve some recognition for this movie.
nickmesafilms (03 May 2013)
Jack Black delivers probably the best performance of his entire career,as he teams up with his "School of Rock" director Richard Linklater, inthe dark comedy "Bernie", a quirky comedy-drama based on an actualmurder that occurred in 1996 Carthage, East Texas. Although this moviehas a few minor gripes, "Bernie" is one of the more better films of theyear. Jack Black plays the title character, Bernie Tiede, a funeraldirector loved by all residents of Carthage, and seems to be the nicestguy to everyone in town. Now, we are introduced to the meanest woman intown, Marjorie Nujent, a mean-spirited widower, played perfectly byShirley MaClaine. Bernie, being the nice guy that he is, decides tocomfort Marjorie by being a loyal friend, by traveling the worldtogether, and always hang out with one another. But it's years laterthat Bernie feels more like Marjorie's personal slave, instead of afriend. Marjorie starts to become overly obsessive over Bernie, forcinghim to become her servant to pick out her clothes, shoot armadillos inher yard, cut her nails, and even trim her chin hairs. As much as hewould rather attend in town gatherings, annual concerts, andbefriending the elderly, he is trapped in a world of torture with onevicious old woman. Now, watch out, here comes a big...SPOILER ALERT!Bernie has realized he's had enough of the torture, and ends upmurdering Marjorie, shooting her four times in the back. Feeling badabout the murder, Bernie must try his best to hide the fact thatMarjorie is dead, without being caught by the local district attorney,portrayed in a surprisingly excellent performance provided by MatthewMcConaughey. Half of this movie feels like a documentary where we getinterviews with the actual residents from Carthage, and the other halfis the cast re-enacting the story. For this being a movie based on anactual event, we don't usually see something like this, so I have tocongratulate this movie for being totally unique in this type ofdelivery. Director Richard Linklater has clearly made a competentmotion picture. The writing is crisp and invigorating, the directing isunique, the tone is great, and the realism of it all is told perfectly.As for the performances, Jack Black takes a break from his usualtype-casted raunchy comedies, and brings a more serious and dramaticperformance to the screen. This movie is easily the highlight of hiscareer. Shirley MaClaine is still really great in her role, but at thesame time, she didn't feel used a lot in this movie, than I thought shewould be. Although delivered some screen-time, Matthew McConaugheyfinally delivers an excellent and wise-cracking performance, where thistime, he's not type-casted as the hip ladies' man, and now he's aserious district attorney hoping to crack the case of this unusualmystery. Speaking of which, the movie hardly contains any mystery ordrama to keep up with the suspense of wondering what will happen next.Since this is based on a true event, the audience can already guess andvisualize what will happen now. Overall, "Bernie" could have beennothing but a dark comedy "gimmick", but it turns out that with it'sinteresting characters and well-told plot, "Bernie" is both anentertaining and interesting motion picture. "Bernie", in my review,"interestingly captivating entertainment, if flawed".
itamarscomix (03 May 2013)
Richard Linklater - one of the most enigmatic directors working today,one who never makes two similar films, and one of the few whose styleand themes I can never pinpoint - completely blurs the line betweendocumentary, mockumentary and dramatization with Bernie, s gem thatwon't make any headlines but may well go down in history as one of thebest films of its year. Jack Black - in what is surely his finestdramatic performance so far - is fantastic as mortician and convictedmurderer Bernie Tiede. Black completely immerses himself into the role,and completely immerses the viewer into the film; for the first time hedoesn't play himself (as he did in films like School of Rock and KingKong), but a character who feels real and very lovable, and it's hardnot to root for Tiede even after we see what he's capable of.Linklater seamlessly merged dramatized and highly stylized scenes (theopening scene in particular is pure cinematic gold) with mockumentarystyle 'talking heads' segments and with actual interviews with peoplewho knew the real Bernie; the juxtaposition is so perfect that, if Ididn't recognize Matthew Mcconaughey, I might have mistaken him for oneof the townspeople. Linklater takes notes from Errol Morris' andHarmony Korine's portrayal of small town quirkiness, but he does sowith much more love and creates something much more watchable; Bernieworks as a black comedic drama with a lot of soul and a lot ofentertainment value as much as it works as a semi-documentary. While itleft some issues unexplored - I would have liked to see more of ShirleyMacLaine's character, as well as Bernie's relationship with thetownspeople, which we get mainly through the interview segments - it'sa great success in that it leaves you wanting more. Don't miss it.
kodykozak1992 (02 May 2013)
"Bernie", an already tragic but immensely intriguing true story, shouldhave the subtitle "Jack Black Reinvented" attached to it. Theperformances of Matthew McConaughey and the other cast in thishalf-documentary style film are all fitting and exceptional, butaudiences will not be prepared to see Jack Black as Bernie; I mean thisas the highest of praises. After Jack Black's personal disappointmentwith his last year of big-studio films, and the ill state of rock androll, I can only hope that he found more happiness after this projectwhich will be defined as one of his best performances. I often lovewhen comedians take one more dramatic roles (Jim Carrey- TrumanShow/Eternal Sunshine, Will Ferrel- Stranger than Fiction) and thisfilm further solidifies my appreciation for actors who put themselves alittle more out of their element on screen and do something different:It makes for organic and very rewarding film.
leonlouisricci (01 May 2013)
There is always something different and interesting about Linklater'sMovies. Here he does not disappoint and Jack Black gives a completelyfull and endearing performance This is crafted like a crazy woman'squilt and it fits snuggly in the Black Comedy genre. The jewel in thiscrown is the fact that it is fact and this really happened pretty muchas portrayed here.The whole ensemble of professional Actors and real People are stellarand add believability to this unbelievable real event. There is muchawe in the folks behavior and everyone of Bernie's supporters is jawdropping in their "belief", contrary to the facts, that this Man couldnot have done what he did because he was charming, went to Church, andwas generous to a fault.Therein lies the flaw in the reality of Human behavior and this Movieuncovers it with wit and subtlety. That is, without giving away tons ofcash and flowering his friends with complements, badly neededattention, and charming, persuasive and masterful manipulation, thesetown folks would be at best indifferent to this oddball.It is this unique combination of inconvenient truth, an unconventionalDirectorial slant, and an uncanny lead performance that makes this acharming and pleasing welcome to contrast a plethora of formulaicFilms.AFTERTHOUGHT: If they ever decide to make a Movie about Laurel andHardy...Jack Black is a lock.
zetes (30 April 2013)
A true murder story with a tinge of comedy. Jack Black stars as anassistant funeral director. He quickly becomes beloved by the communityof Carthage, Texas. In particular, he's a favorite of the little oldladies, whom he often befriends after their husbands die. When hebefriends widow Shirley MacLaine, the richest woman in town, she endsup monopolizing his time, basically enslaving him. After a while, he'spushed too far and ends up shooting her. Matthew McConaughey plays theD.A. who is assigned to put him away. Should be a slam dunk case, butthe town loves him so much (and hated MacLaine) they make it clear theywill not convict him. This is an intriguing story. Unfortunately,Linklater chooses to tell much of it with talking heads (presumably theactual citizens of Carthage). He relies so much on the talking heads,the narrative performed by the actors starts to feel like sidedressing, like the re-enactments on America's Most Wanted. Linklatershould have just made a documentary if that's what he wanted to do.It's way too bad that the film falls apart with this structure, becauseJack Black and McConaughey both give career-best performances.
estebangonzalez10 (29 April 2013)
Â¨A story so unbelievable it must be true.Â¨Bernie is among the top 5 films I've seen this year, and as the taglinesuggests this is one of those few movies that you feel assured isactually true because it's just too unbelievable to be made up. We allknow that most films based on true stories are almost completelyfictional except for a few details, but here we have a reallyinteresting story that even used some of the real people involved in aninterview format that gave the movie a documentary like feeling. Ireally loved this film directed by the great Richard Linklater(Slackers, Dazed and Confused, Before Sunset) who made independentmovies popular in the early 90's. Once more the story takes place inhis beloved Texas, with people who he's very familiar with, and so thefilm turns out to be a great character study while at the same timecombining dark comedy, drama, and suspense. All these elements mixedtogether combined with a great performance from Jack Black, MatthewMcConaughey, and Shirley MacLaine make for a near perfect movie. Berniereally took me by surprise, just like Jack Black did with what I thinkis his best performance ever; I had a great time watching this. Thesmall rural town of Carthage in Texas is also a main character in thisfilm as we meet its people who all seem to adore Bernie as much as Idid this movie. The film is narrated in a semi documentary style as we have the storytaking place and it being interrupted by several interviews of theCarthage townspeople who share their opinion about Bernie (Jack Black).The interview serves to continue the flow of the movie as at first theyexplain how Bernie arrived at their small town. Bernie, an expertmortician, is hired by a funeral director to assist him and from thevery beginning he has everyone's admiration for being such ahardworking lovable and caring guy. He makes friends easily and verysoon has the admiration of the entire town. He not only assists thefuneral director, but is always willing to go the extra mile offeringspecial funeral services like singing for them or offering specialwords. He also helps out in several theater plays in the community andserves as the music minister for the local church. Everyone in Carthagelikes him and has only but good things to say about him. After MarjorieNugent's (Shirley MacLaine) husband passes away, the wealthy widowbefriends Bernie. Everyone in town hates Marjorie because she is reallymean spirited, even her family has stopped communicating with her foryears and even has filed lawsuits against her, but somehow Bernie founda way to get to her. The unlikely duo turn into good friends and travelthe world together, but after some time Marjorie turns completelydependent on Bernie and he begins to feel like he's in a prison withher. This leads Bernie to do something he will regret for the rest ofhis life.Bernie is a film based on character study, and a very good one at thatbecause you have a very interesting lead character. He is a veryfriendly, caring, and giving man that everyone likes. At the same timehe seems to be concerned about what others think of him and is alwayslooking for their approval and acceptance. He isn't concerned about themoney as he is with receiving acceptance and that is why he is alwaysgiving things to others and helping them. For this reason he can't finda way to leave Marjorie because he knows he will break her heart and hedoesn't want anyone not to like him. This is not only Jack Black's bestperformance to date, but in my opinion it is the best male leadperformance of the year and he should receive recognition for hisportrayal of Bernie. He is excellent in this film and Jack Black fansshould see this movie. This is the second time he has teamed up withdirector Richard Linklater after School of Rock, but this is a muchmature performance and greater movie. Shirley MacLaine is also great inher role as the mean and demanding Marjorie, but we've all seen herdeliver these performances in the past. Matthew McConaughey also givesa great performance as the town's District Attorney and he does a goodjob without going over the top with his character. Bernie really caughtme by surprise and I really enjoyed the movie.http://estebueno10.blogspot.com
Dan Franzen (29 April 2013)
Although uneven and at times unfocused, Bernie is the kind of moviethat hitches its wagon to the charisma of its star and goes along forthe ride. Jack Black plays a solicitous, generous assistantfuneral-home director in a small town who quickly gains the love andrespect of the town, particularly the elderly folks, as he immerseshimself into their lives. Black leaves the slapstick and crudity athome and instead goes the route of Ben Stiller in Greenburg, althoughnot quite as dramatic, and he's really good in the role. In the end,though, one might wonder what the point of the movie was, and for acomedy - even a dark one - there are a lot of unanswered questions atfilm's end.Bernie arrives in town and lucks upon a job at the local funeralparlor. He takes great care in making the deceased look as good aspossible, from trimmed eyelashes to the positioning of the hands andhead. Bernie takes his job seriously. He runs the funerals, leading themourners in song, reading from the Bible, and so on; he comforts thewidows and does all he can to ease their pain. He's a true find, right?One of these old biddies is Mrs. Nugent (Shirley MacLaine), a despised,bitter older woman who has money and no friends whatsoever. Allovertures to communicate and bond with Mrs.Nugent by the town are fornaught. Except for Bernie, who - as his custom - pays his respectsafter the funeral to the new widow. After the second visit, she inviteshim in, and over some time they become friends. The change in Mrs.Nugent is remarkable; she is a nicer person and much happier. She andBernie go on vacations and other trips together. Finally, she feels,someone who does not hate her.Mrs. Nugent gets Bernie to quit his job at the funeral home and workfor her part time - essentially as a servant. Seems like a sweet dealat first, but eventually she becomes paranoid that he'll leave her atany moment, and he becomes concerned that she's turning into quite thepossessive witch. That, as the synopsis might tell you on other sites -this is not a spoiler - induces him to perform a most heinous deed.The story is told in the framework of a documentary, with on-cameraexposition provided by the town's denizens. Most are gossipy, but noneof them stand out as mean-spirited - just normal folks, as they mightsay. About the only two characters who don't open up to the camera areBernie and Mrs. Nugent themselves. This little trick by directorRichard Linklater helps not only move the plot along but also serves ussometimes conflicting information, depending on the source - even whenwe see things with our own eyes.The first half of the story is amusing, mostly about how wonderfullygenerous Bernie is to everyone. And then the crime occurs, and thevarious citizens react differently. But here's the rub - Bernie is sucha magnificent guy, there are some who don't even care if he IS guilty.Star district attorney Danny Buck (Matthew McConaughey) has anopen-and- shut case, complete with a confession. All that remains isthe trial and the aftermath.This is more of a character study - of Bernie alone - than anythingelse. It could have been played for sharp laughs or even as asuspenseful thriller. Linklater plays it more or less straight,essentially saying, "Here's your man, here's what others think of him,what do you think?" And indeed, what are we to think? There are somehead-scratching questions by the end. Here's a non-spoiler one: Why wasBernie even in that town? Did he choose it randomly? Did he premeditatethe events that unfolded? Okay, three questions, but all valid. Nonewill ruin the movie for you. See it for Black and MacLaine and arealistic look at small-town Texans.
Rameshwar IN (29 April 2013)
While Jack Black finally came out of his closet (if one can call itthat), Matthew McConaughey seems to be going for a record in playing anattorney's character. To make an entertaining movie about an elderlywomen's murder that does not have any criminal history or thrillerelements associated with it is challenging, so the director RichardLinklater took a smart approach on his screenplay by establishing thecharacters and emotions around the event as testimonials by thecitizens of the town which worked very well. Jack Black as always theone who steals the show only this time he wasn't himself, but as anactual another person.Follows a true crime story involving Bernie Tiede (played by JackBlack) a mortician who is friendly and liked by the entire town, isvery good at his job and the town is divided about his sexualorientation. Bernie meets Mrs Nugent (Shirley MacLaine) at herhusband's funeral and as he always does tries to be friendly byvisiting and bringing in gifts after the funeral. Mrs. Nugent who isvery rich, lonely and hated by the entire community looks at him as apotential companion. Bernie being outgoing and friendly with everyone,Mrs. Nugent restricts his activities and metaphorically imprisons himto act upon her whims in her house. In one desperate moment, Berniepicks up a gun and shoots her in the back. Bernie preserves her body ina freezer and keeps spending Mrs. Nugent's money for the church, schooland anyone who needed anything while the suspicions keep arising fromher financial manager. While everyone in town had no shred of doubtabout Bernie's capability or intentions, the town's DA Danny Buck(Matthew McConaughey) thinks otherwise.I felt the movie told a biased story towards Bernie (though the realman is serving his time and this is not going to do any good). It isvery difficult to perceive that the old lady did not have anyone sayone nice thing about her. However mean one person might be, after deaththat too in such circumstances, I believe it may not be like that inreal life as shown in the movie. A landmark role for Jack Black sincehe hasn't done anything like this before. Actually he hasn't doneanything like anything else before other than being himself in all hismovies. Especially some mannerisms using his hands or the way he walksis hilarious and incredible. Matthew McConaughey is neither new to playan attorney nor using a Texan accent, but there was some weird makeupand it took me sometime to make sure that was him. The tone of themovie was never depressing where most movies that are associated withtrue crimes tend to do, it is upbeat from begin to finish. Thescreenplay technique to go with testimonials (as against a narrative)worked wonders in terms of holding attention, presenting the entirecharacters in different voices but ended up being biased (may thats thereal story). I am not sure if this can be in contention for awards, butthe real Bernie would have been proud of this effort.Biased, upbeat and superbly acted.
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