I have never read any Mordecai Richler books, although I currently have one out of the library waiting patiently for the semester to end when it will have my undivided attention. I have heard he is an interesting writer, with humourous and eventful plots. The film adaptation of Barney’s Version did not disappoint.
At first you get the feeling that he is going to spend most of the film getting married to different women and much like Will Hayes in Definitely, Maybe who can not resist getting down on one knee — his last wedding is not the same without Bogey around. Both are retrospectives on how a life ended up this way, love found, a marriage dissolved and mistakes made. Then there is the side that is like The Royal Tennenbaums. Barney’s Version has the same fanciful but yet believable feel. You know it’s a little over the top but it fits, you can go along for the ride. Leave any doubts aside as the storytelling takes over. Then in the end there is an aging Barney losing his memory and sense of time. Everything has come full circle. Here is Meryl Streep in The Iron Lady. You don’t want to watch him lose the ability to remember where his car is and age but it makes him more human. Then there is the end where everything is tied together. Like a good mystery it keeps you wondering until the end. A small comment and a chance of circumstance solves the problem — a plot devise comes along — Plot Devise Productions would be a good name for a rival to Totally Unnecessary Productions. Back to the book with peanuts crushed under the cover, back to the beginning/end. Barney’s Version of the story.