DRAMA; 2hr 11min
STARRING: Paul Giamatti, Dustin Hoffman, Rosamund Pike
The marrying kind: Pike and Giamatti
Barney Panofksy has lived a big, robust life, and Paul Giamatti is the ideal man to inhabit him. Married three times (to Rachelle Lefevre, Minnie Driver and Pike as his one true love, Miriam), the woolly cuddlebug evolves from a scraggle-bearded boho to a prosperous Montréal TV producer and, in his final act, to an old and vulnerable man.
Empathetically directed by Richard J. Lewis, Michael Konyves’ screenplay of Mordecai Richler’s richly anecdotal 1997 novel nips back and forth through decades and spans two continents with intimate élan. It’s a win-win for Giamatti, showcasing him in the glamorous and giving surrounds that his wry, discerning talent deserves. He also gets the support he deserves from a cast that knows what it’s about: Hoffman as Barney’s cheeky father, Izzy, Scott Speedman as the dissolute best friend who Barney may have inadvertently murdered, and the graceful, intuitive Pike as the woman who Barney is too insecure to keep. If only: epic and adorable in his boozehound klutziness, the crabby romantic with the honourable soul is a contradictory gift.