Late last year I had a chance to see 'Last of the Wild Jews', a documentary about the life of Mordechai Richler. Ever since, I have been waiting for Barney's Version to arrive in Vancouver. Thanks to Rory Richards, the extraordinary media/PR/Events lady, I was able to enjoy an advance screening last night. The movie will open to the general public on January 14 at Fifth Avenue, and hopefully other theatres. My advice? Don't miss it.
The movie is an excellent adaptation of the somewhat autobiographical book by Mordechai Richler. However you do not have to have read the book to enjoy the movie. Similarly, you don't have to be a Montrealer. However, since it is filmed in and around Montreal, former Montrealers and visitors to Montreal alike will enjoy seeing familiar sights and settings.
One thing that did strike me about the movie was the excellent casting. From the outrageous Dustin Hoffman as Barney's dad, who manages to upset the Rabbi's wife with his earthy language, to Minnie Driver who plays a very realistic Jewish Princess most concerned that Barney has 'washed it properly' before she's heading under the covers, everyone is surprisingly credible and entertaining in their roles.
Since this is an independent Canadian film, it's hard to know just how long a run this it will have. Apparently, the better the initial turnout, the greater the number of screens and the longer the run. So please go and see it as soon as you can. If you don't like it, let me know and I'll give you your money back. Or lend you one of my Richler books. Enjoy!