Bernie (2011)

I originally wasn’t planning to watch Bernie. Not because I don’t like Jack Black as I think he’s usually pretty entertaining, but the movie just didn’t seem that appealing. I normally don’t watch trailers, but watching part of one made me decide I’d skip this one. That’s until I saw a lot of positive reviews coming into my mailbox. It seemed I had dismissed a movie I shouldn’t have, so I was set on “righting” that wrong and decided to check it out.

Bernie is not your average movie and going in I didn’t know much about it (I only looked at the scores of those reviews I received). I didn’t know it was based on a real story and also didn’t know that the form in which the story was told was refreshing. I’m a big fan of documentaries and this movie actually feels like one. It feels like a reenactment, like the ones you see on something like “I shouldn’t be alive” or “Locked up abroad”. The movie follows a storyline, but is interspersed with interviews with real people talking fondly about Bernie. I won’t be talking about what exactly happens, but suffice to say I kind of felt like those people in the town being surprised by it.

If you are dreading watching this because you are not a fan of Jack Black’s “loud” persona then you will be pleasantly surprised to know that he’s very dialled back in this, playing his role straight. He’s not responsible for most of the laughs, that honor goes to the townspeople. I was expecting Matthew McConaughey to have a bigger part of the movie, but felt that his part felt underdeveloped and wished it had been more fleshed out. This movie manages to make you feel sympathy for the real Bernie, although I’m not sure that you should have.

Score: 8

25 thoughts on “Bernie (2011)

  1. I watched it because I admire Linklater as a director, although what stayed with me was Jack Black, excellent performance. Was quite shocking that it was based on a real life story!

  2. Completely agree here, Nostra. I was so surprised by this film and was utterly enchanted by it from beginning to end. This one came out of nowhere!

    Great review — very well said!

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