BERNIE (2011)



Before we watched it together last night, I had already seen Bernie (Chris hadn’t), but it was the kind of movie I was itching to see again. Not because it was confusing or I thought I could figure out more about it, but just because it’s good.

I’m usually not a huge fan of Jack Black, but he’s so subdued here it’s hard not to love him. He’s not the manic persona he usually puts on screen, and this kind of role really suites him. I also loved the way most of the story was told in the second person, through the eyes of the townspeople. Having relatives in Texas all my life and living in Austin now, I definitely appreciated the mannerisms and the things said by the townspeople a lot more than I would otherwise. The one old man’s diagram of Texas is particularly amazing and telling.

The one sticking point with me was the sense of time. For the majority of the movie, the exact time period isn’t really specified, and it doesn’t really need to be, but you get the sense that it’s sometime during the 90’s: computers aren’t really mentioned or used, and people use corded house phones over cell phones. And then, well into movie, Bernie gets a call on his iPhone. To me, the iPhone was really jarring and knocked me out of the story a little bit, because I had re-assess what time period the story was told in. Not a huge deal, but when a movie’s as good as this one, a minor flaw doesn’t seem as minor.


Bernie is truly fantastic, even more so because it’s a true story. Anything associated with Texas I am immediately interested in, I think because of my time so far in Texas (for the same reason I am currently addicted to King of the Hill). Bernie held my interest by showing off the weird, crazy lifestyle of Texas. The film is basically about a small town man being pushed too far by a miserable old lady. Throughout Bernie there are multiple interviews with the people of the small town of Carthage about Bernie, the actual person. I think the great thing is that a majority of the actors of this film are actual people who were in the town.
After seeing this movie I kind of want to go visit the town. It’s only a five hour drive? Maybe during next four day weekend!

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