Conclusion: Barney's Version isn't an easy movie to sit through, but it's still a pleasure to watch. It's difficult to witness Barney's life crumbling before the camera through various events of both his making and external consequences alike, but it's easy to enjoy Paul Giamatti's wonderful performance.
Excerpt: The problem with adapting Mordecai Richler’s 1997 novel Barney’s Version to film is the same problem that hits so many book-to-film adaptations: The book gets into the head of a complicated man, while the film merely observes him.
Conclusion: While perhaps a touch overlong and with plot strands that don't hang together as well as they might, this is remains a triumph, illuminated by a terrific leading man turn from Paul Giamatti.
Summary: Without having read Mordecai Richler’s 1997 novel which Barney’s Version is adapted from, it’s still abundantly clear that this long, glossily mounted tearjerker exhibits all the usual problems with paring down 400 pages into an orderly feature film.
Excerpt: "Barney's Version" is a character study covering 30 years of one man's life. Depth is compromised by span when a life - even a fictional one - is featured in a movie-length couple of hours. This is a rambling, uneven and shallow movie held together by strong acting.