An odd little film that pulls you along with great performances by Giamatti, Pike, and Hoffman especially. The ability of Pike and Giamatti, in particular, to present both their younger and older selves over a 30 year period believably is wonderful. My respect for both has been raised significantly by this movie.
Additionally, Giamatti’s ability to make Barney, who is a bit of a schmuck to be blunt, sympathetic is impressive. You get to understand and support this guy through every bone-headed and right decision he makes. And, even then, perspective is everything. That this is “Barney’s Version” really does come into play in multiple ways throughout the film. Giamatti loves taking on unlikable characters and given them heart. Most recently I’ve enjoyed him in Cold Souls and The Last Station, each of which have challenging roles that he imbues with life.
Another wonderful aspect of this movie, is that what you think the story is about is probably not what the film is about entirely. It keeps changing and evolving, much as life, ending at a perfect moment. There are plots and comments both obvious and subtle throughout both on a character and social commentary level. Take the time and find this one when you have a chance.