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Bernie 2012

PG-13 CC

In the tiny, rural town of Carthage, TX, assistant funeral director Bernie Tiede was one of the town's most beloved residents. He taught Sunday school, sang in the church choir and was always willing to lend a helping hand. Everyone loved and appreciated Bernie, so it came as no surprise when he befriended Marjorie Nugent, an affluent widow.

Starring:
Jack Black, Shirley MacLaine
Runtime:
1 hour, 39 minutes

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Product Details

Genres Drama, Comedy
Director Richard Linklater
Starring Jack Black, Shirley MacLaine
Supporting actors Matthew McConaughey, Brady Coleman, Richard Robichaux, Rick Dial, Brandon Smith, Larry Jack Dotson, Merrilee McCommas, Mathew Greer, Marjorie Dome, Tim Cariker, Fern Luker, Jack Payne, Sonny Carl Davis, Chris Humphrey, Ann Reeves, Kay Epperson, Ira Bounds, James Baker
Studio Millennium Entertainment
MPAA rating PG-13 (Parents Strongly Cautioned)
Captions and subtitles English Details
Purchase rights Stream instantly Details
Format Amazon Video (streaming online video)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By Paul Allaer TOP 500 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on May 31, 2012
Format: DVD
Let me state upfront that I knew literally next to nothing about the movie's plot when I went to see it recently at my indie-movie theatre here in Cincinnati. I had heard good things about it, and that was good enough for me to check it out. Well, I was in for quite a surprise.

"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!
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Format: DVD
Bernie is the new masterpiece by Richard Linklater. The fact that he could turn such a difficult premise to such a successful black comedy/drama is remarkable. This may be one of the greatest works on small-town America in this decade. Though Bernie may not have the breadth of a work like Fargo, it does magic in how it tells its story.

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.
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Format: DVD Verified Purchase
This is a great movie! We (people who know Bernie and or lived in Carthage) thought that there was no way that a movie could be made about a murder and be funny....But with the cast and the bizarre "this can't be true" storyline, it blew me away. I am going to see it in Carthage on Sunday with my mom and her sister, my aunt, who is in the movie. If you are a Jack Black fan...then this is a "must see".
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Format: DVD
I wish I'd known nothing about this film when I sat down to watch it. Unfortunately, nearly every review gives away a key detail of the plot -- usually in the first sentence -- and so although the movie wasn't ruined (hardly), I know that it lacked as much impact as it could have provided. I know this because I watched it with two people from whom I had deliberately withheld the key detail, and their response to the film -- although just as deeply pleased as mine -- had a far sharper edge of interest. They had been waiting to see what might happen. I was waiting for what I knew would happen.

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.
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