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Bernie

7/10
Drama . Crime . Comedy
 

In this true story in the tiny, rural town of Carthage, TX, assistant funeral director Bernie Tiede was one of the town's most beloved residents. Everyone loved and appreciated Bernie, and it came as no surprise when he befriended Marjorie Nugent, an affluent widow who was as well known for her sour attitude as her fortune. Until that day news came that Marjorie Nugent had been dead for some time, and Bernie Tiede was being charged with the murder.

 
Actors: Christian Stokes , Grant James , Dale Dudley , Mona Lee Fultz , Rick Dial , Tommy G. Kendrick , Brady Coleman , Matthew McConaughey , Shirley MacLaine , Jack Black
Directors: Richard Linklater
Country: USA
Release: 2012-06-22
More Info:
  • Mick LaSalle

    You should have the opportunity to experience the movie the way I did, in complete ignorance, enjoying its every weird turn.

    San Francisco Chronicle Full Review
  • Joshua Rothkopf

    Matthew McConaughey finally locates his perfect métier as the town's Fordian skeptic, a district attorney who smells a rat.

    Time Out New York Full Review
  • Shawn Levy

    Slight but terrific. The intertwining of the sharply tuned actors and the guileless (and often hilarious) townspeople is seamless, the tale is sometimes despairing but never heavy, and the blend of drama, comedy and music is brisk and fresh.

    Portland Oregonian Full Review
  • Peter Rainer

    The innocence of the townspeople is weirdly uplifting. They love their Bernie so much that they seem even more blinkered than he is.

    Christian Science Monitor Full Review
  • Manohla Dargis

    Gaudily vibrant, at times morbidly funny.

    The New York Times Full Review
  • Betsy Sharkey

    This is writer-director Richard Linklater at his wry, whimsical best, and considering he was the filmmaker behind 1993's "Dazed and Confused," that makes the movie something of a milestone.

    Los Angeles Times Full Review
  • Calvin Wilson

    Bernie could easily have gone horribly wrong. But Black and Linklater finesse this tricky material with as much virtuosity as Bernie brings to that broccoli.

    St. Louis Post-Dispatch Full Review
  • Steven Rea

    Weirdly funny, inspiring film.

    Philadelphia Inquirer Full Review
  • Roger Ebert

    I had to forget what I knew about Black. He creates this character out of thin air, it's like nothing he's done before, and it proves that an actor can be a miraculous thing in the right role.

    Chicago Sun-Times Full Review
  • Lou Lumenick

    Jack Black gives the performance of his career in the title role of Bernie, under the pitch-perfect direction of his "School of Rock'' director, Richard Linklater, who expertly crafts a black comedy with a deceptively sunny surface. It's the best movie I've seen all spring.

    New York Post Full Review
  • Rex Reed

    It's a delectable slice of Southern Gothic humor, a side show of rednecks and Bubbas and Aunt Tooties.

    New York Observer Full Review
  • Jeannette Catsoulis

    The wonder of Black's performance here is its empathy and balance: inasmuch as he can disappear into any role, he dissolves into this one with no hint of mocking remove. It's a beautiful thing to see.

    NPR Full Review
  • Scott Tobias

    Though the lightness of Bernie can get disconcerting at times, even cartoonish, Linklater approaches the story with a bemused curiosity that seems about right under the circumstances.

    The A.V. Club Full Review
  • Andrew Pulver

    Black's performance is a revelation: foregoing his usual repertoire of jiggling, tics and head-waggling craziness, Black ensures Tiede is a satirical creation of considerable substance. Really impressive.

    The Guardian Full Review
  • J.R. Jones

    The story provides great roles for Jack Black as the sunny title character, Shirley MacLaine as his dyspeptic victim, and Matthew McConaughey as the good-old-boy D.A. who prosecutes the crime. But some of the best performances come from real-life residents of Carthage as they share their recollections on camera.

    Chicago Reader Full Review
  • Nick Pinkerton

    Richard Linklater's Bernie is the rarest of rarities: a truly unexpected film. It might be classified as a black comedy, for it deals with the murder of an 81-year-old woman in a fashion that is not exactly tragic.

    Village Voice Full Review
  • Marc Savlov

    Jack Black redeems himself (for Gulliver's Travels, among other things) with a subtly quirky performance that's one of his personal best.

    Austin Chronicle Full Review
  • Rene Rodriguez

    The question of why the law must always be upheld, regardless of consequences, gives this light, amiable movie a surprising heft and weight. You don't want to see Bernie sent to prison - the world is a better place without that mean old shrew - but murder is murder, right?

    Miami Herald Full Review
  • Jennie Punter

    Propelled by a perfectly cast trio of stars whose eccentricities shine in singular character roles, Bernie is a charmer.

    The Globe and Mail (Toronto) Full Review
  • Ann Hornaday

    Interspersing "real" people with professional actors, Linklater creates a vivid, gossipy Greek chorus that serves as a kind of collective unreliable narrator -- an altogether appropriate stance given the moral gray zone the sweetly confounding Bernie inhabits.

    Washington Post Full Review
  • Michael Phillips

    As composite sketches go, it's a good one.

    Chicago Tribune Full Review
  • Peter Travers

    No use trying to describe Bernie. It's a one-of-a-kind inspiration. You will never feel closer to a convicted killer.

    Rolling Stone Full Review
  • David Edelstein

    On its own terms, Bernie is smoothly made and reasonably entertaining, Linklater doing his Austin-based best not to condescend to the locals - at least the East Carthage locals.

    New York Magazine (Vulture) Full Review
  • Joe Morgenstern

    Where the movie is at its best is in the comically laconic, straight-to-the-camera remarks offered by Carthage's residents. (They're played by a mix of local actors and real townspeople doing partially scripted versions of themselves.)

    Wall Street Journal Full Review
  • David Denby

    It's an odd movie - mild in tone and circumspect, yet darkly funny, and done in a hybrid form that I don't think has been used so thoroughly before.

    The New Yorker Full Review
  • Justin Chang

    Pitch-perfect performances by Shirley MacLaine and an unusually restrained Jack Black hold together this offbeat true-crime saga, but Linklater's keen eye for human eccentricity flowers most memorably on the periphery.

    Variety Full Review
  • Ty Burr

    Black gets to play an actual character instead of a loudmouthed cartoon. The movie's bright and endearing and surprisingly lacking in a point. I wish I liked it better.

    Boston Globe Full Review
  • Dave Calhoun

    If the crime element feels like little more than a red herring, it’s the characters that give the film its appeal.

    Time Out London Full Review
  • Joe Neumaier

    Jack Black adds new depths to his slippery comic persona in Bernie, a movie that may not ultimately add up to much, but which is filled with wonderfully odd details of weird Americana.

    New York Daily News Full Review
  • Stephanie Zacharek

    It was a stroke of genius, at least a miniature one, to cast Black in this role – he's made to play the affable teddy bear who could snap at any moment.

    Movieline Full Review
  • Todd McCarthy

    More than the film that surrounds him, Jack Black is worth the price of admission in Bernie, an oddball May-December true life crime story that would have profited from being a whole lot darker and full-bodied than it is.

    The Hollywood Reporter Full Review
  • Adam Markovitz

    All those twangy, homespun observations interrupt and annotate the narrative until Black and MacLaine's scenes start to feel as trivial as reenactments on a true-crime TV show.

    Entertainment Weekly Full Review
  • Mary Pols

    Instead of exploring something bigger, like the origins of Bernie's need for the company of elderly ladies (which Hollandsworth touched on in Texas Monthly; Tiede lost his mother at age 3 and his father at 15), Linklater limits the story and mood to black comedy.

    Time Full Review
  • David Ehrlich

    Bernie is an interesting guy, but he doesn't make for very good company.

    Boxoffice Magazine Full Review
  • A surprisingly shapeless true-crime farce which never creates a convincing context for the odd relationship between a pious East Texas mortician and his sugar mama.

    Slant Magazine Full Review
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