Barney Panofsky loves hockey. He loves cigars, scotch and opiates. He's politically incorrect, belligerent and unreserved in speech. He loathes weight reduction plans, cosmetic therapy and the affluent. He loves his Jewish father. He's been accused of murdering his best friend. He's been married three times to three beautiful women and he's managed to exasperate them all.
Paul Giamatti grabs hold of the character with every part of himself. The anecdotal story is full of witty commentary and humorous observation. It paints a very sweet, very candid picture of romanticism. Even Dustin Hoffman, whom I often find highly annoying, is endearing. Look for cameos by directors Adam Egoyan and David Cronenberg.
Though highly successful on the festival circuit at the end of 2010, Barney's Version only recently received a limited release. Had I the opportunity to see it a bit earlier, it may have broke onto my top ten list for last year. It's that good people.