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Top Customer Reviews
"Bernie" (95 min.) brings the story of Bernie Tiede (played by Jack Black) as a funeral director (excuse me, "assistant" funeral director) in Carthage, TX. Bernie is the most likeable guy you'll ever meet. He is involved in the community like no-one else before, and the small town just things the world of him. At one of the funerals, Bernie meets widow Marjorie Nugent (played by Shirley McLaine), and they strike a friendship. Marjorie is viewed by everyone as a b*tch, but the two of them get along just great. Things take a turn for the worse as Marjorie becomes more and more possesive of Bernie, and it all builds up to a confrontation between the two, and Bernie shoots her. I won't tell more of the plot, so that you can experience for yourself what happens after that. Several comments: I didn't realize until the credits rolled that (i) this is based on true mid-90s events in Carthage, and (ii) the movie intersects with interviews from people from Carthage, which it turned out are not actors but the actual folks from Chartage who witnessed the whole thing.
I must mention the excellent work from Jack Black as Bernie (has he ever been better than in this movie?), but even more so the eye-popping performance by Shirley McLaine as Marjorie, which really blew me away. Matthew McConaughey certainly deserves an honorable mention in his role as the local District Attorney, MILES away from his usual stuff. In all, I cannot emphasize enough how pleasantly surprised I was by this movie, it just flashed by in no time, and kept my interest throughout. "Bernie" is HIGHLY RECOMMENDED!
Really, the most fascinating thing about Bernie is the way the story is told. Rather than give us a linear story, Bernie story is mostly retold by the residents of Carthage, TX who were witnessed to the gruesome events that occurred in this innocent town. This style can backfire gloriously if these characters are too animated, but Linklater strikes the right tone. With a Texan accent and some Southern innocence, these characters all suit the benefits the main story line. He seamlessly alternates between the world of the main characters and residents. This is very competent screenwriting as Linklater only uses his main characters when they are necessary, and allows the residents of Carthage to do the main storytelling. This is a welcome retreat from heavy-set narration of many Hollywood movies, especially some master filmmakers like Woody Allen.
The movie is amazing because it centers on a murder that is hard to condemn like a CSI episode and the intent not dissimilar to Dostoevsky's Crime and Punishment. What makes the crime difficult to assess is that most of what the audience knows from Bernie is from the residents of Carthage, TX. We do not know Bernie as well as they do, and have to assume that their judgments are sound and not simplistic or based on a façade generated by Bernie himself.Read more ›
If this is the only review of the film you read, then read none others, because you should go in fresh. I will tell you this much: the film is a cross between a mockumentary and an homage to the true tale of a personable mortician/funeral director named Bernie. A Methodist with a tender voice and a precise sort of careful charm, Bernie's affable and off-beat ways woo most of the citizens of the town of Carthage, Texas, including its most notable curmudgeon, an older woman named Marjorie Nugent, known as much for her wealth as for her sweet-as-a-porcupine demeanor. The unlikely friendship that blossoms between those two -- as well as its ultimate dissolution and effect on the town -- provides the heart of this absorbing, beautifully acted crime drama/dark comedy.
The movie's action is interspersed with interviews from citizens of the town, all of whom are so rich in character and colloquialisms that my friends and I could not decide if they were actors or the real deal. It turns out that they are, indeed, real citizens from the town, people who really knew Bernie, and this just adds to the film's sweetly sad charm.Read more ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
True story was extremely well portrayed. All the local citizens of Carthage did an amazing job of telling the story. Jack Black was perfect in the role of Bernie.Published 1 day ago by Elizabeth
Jack Black and Shirley MacLaine did a great job with a lame script and slow story line.Published 3 days ago by Carol-lee Zuvich
While a little different than most movies, I still loved it!! Truth is often stranger than fiction.Published 3 days ago by Sally Russell
Based on a true story and was very interesting. After watching it I did a search on the web and found more surprising information.Published 4 days ago by RunHikenBike
The authenticity of the language by the locals and by the actors was great. A fun film.Published 4 days ago by arthur l simpson
A fascinating and charming story that showcases the immense talent possessed by Jack Black. I didn't expect much and didn't expect I'd like the movie but I absolutely loved it. Read morePublished 8 days ago by Spuggers
This offbeat true story is well told and well acted. It has an entertaining script that judiciously shows the humor in an otherwise sad tale. Read morePublished 8 days ago by Basile Uddo
sadly, it was a REAL murder. not a subject for comedy. the judge who released him for a while should be terminated.Published 9 days ago by Lucky777
Rocketed into my top 3 favorite movies of all time...have already watched it 3 times!!!! BrilliantPublished 9 days ago by Amazon Customer