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Barney's Version Review Critics


Dave White Profile

Very much like the dinosaur. But drunk. Read full review

Other Critics provided by

Critics scores range from 0 to 100, with higher scores indicating more favorable reviews.

  • 4.0

    out of 100

    Generally favorable reviews
    based on a weighted average of all
    critic review scores.

  • 75

    out of 100

    USA Today Claudia Puig

    Paul Giamatti brings just the right blend of irascible charm and caustic intelligence to the role of Barney.

    Read Full Review

  • 83

    out of 100

    Entertainment Weekly Owen Gleiberman

    Paul Giamatti, dialing down his trembly-voiced neurotic energy to good effect, gives a holy hell of a performance as Barney Panofsky.

    Read Full Review

  • 88

    out of 100

    Chicago Sun-Times Roger Ebert

    Giamatti's performance is one of those achievements. He is making a career of playing unremarkable but memorable men.

    Read Full Review

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For Families provided by Common Sense Media

Iffy for 17+

Mature dramedy is well acted but may not interest teens.

What Parents Need to Know

Parents need to know that this Paul Giamatti dramedy based on the novel by Mordecai Richler is heavy on strong language (including "f--k" and "s--t") and sexual innuendo and situations (including a scene of a topless woman). There's also some violence (a gun is brandished, and there's lots of arguing), as well as almost constant drinking and smoking, and one character is an addict. Teens may not be sucked in by the story of a middle-aged ne'er-do-well anyway.

  • Families can talk about whether Barney is a strong or likeable character. What does he do to earn viewers' interest or admiration? What does he do wrong throughout his life? Does he learn anything? Do his mistakes make him more or less appealing?
  • Why do you think Barney and all his friends drink so much? What consequences does it have in their movie lives? What consequences might it have in real life?
  • Barney meets many women during his life. How does he know that Miriam is the one that he's truly in love with? What does he do to deserve her love?

The good stuff
  • message true0

    Messages: Ultimately, not much is learned or accomplished here. Characters behave terribly -- but also warmly from time to time; it's messy, but so is life.

  • rolemodels true0

    Role models: Barney behaves badly and/or makes mistakes throughout the film, and he never seems to learn from any of them, although he does generally pay a price for his behavior. He's successful in business and also acts bravely and lovingly from time to time, but overall, his general character could be summed up as someone you don't want your kids to be like.

What to watch for
  • violence false2

    Violence: Plenty of shouting and arguing. A gun is pulled in one scene, though the resulting violence occurs off-screen, with no blood shown.

  • sex false4

    Sex: Viewers see two sex acts in progress and one about to occur, but true nudity is limited to one scene with a topless woman and some nude paintings. Frequent sex talk and sexual innuendo. The main character is married to three women during the course of the movie and is said to have had sex with all of them, as well as with a fourth woman.

  • language false4

    Language: Strong, frequent swearing includes "f--k," "s--t," "c--ksucker," "prick," "son of a bitch," "t-ts," "schtupping," "schmuck," "p---y," "vagina," "a--hole," "hell," and "Jesus Christ" (used as an exclamation).

  • consumerism false0

    Consumerism: Not an issue

  • drugsalcoholtobacco false4

    Drinking, drugs and smoking: Characters drink almost constantly, often to the point of drunkenness. The hero goes to a bar to watch hockey and get drunk; he also drinks in restaurants and at home. He also smokes cigars almost constantly. A secondary character is shown to be an addict, and drugs such as "horse" (heroin), opium, and hash are mentioned.