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Home > Movies > Bernie
Bernie (2011)
(3 Ratings)
2 Reviews | 4 Short Comments | 35 Collectors | 7 Times Watched

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Movie Info
Movie Year:
Richard Linklater
Movie Year:
Jack BlackShirley MacLaineMatthew McConaugheyRip TornRick DialMona Lee FultzDavid BlackwellGrant James
Skip HollandsworthRichard Linklater
Thriller, Comedy, Documentary,
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No release information.
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(ex. 2002/10/21)
In small-town Texas, the local mortician strikes up a friendship with a wealthy widow, though when he kills her, he goes to great lengths to create the illusion that she's alive.
May 14, 2013
Bernie Tiede (Jack Black) is a small Texas town mortician who is a very friendly guy. He makes friends with everyone with his mild and gentle demeanor ...
Bernie Tiede (Jack Black) is a small Texas town mortician who is a very friendly guy. He makes friends with everyone with his mild and gentle demeanor, but especially the elderly ladies who flock to him. But he strikes up a close friendship with a mean old lonely widow who is the richest lady in town, and one whom everyone either hates or fears. But when she turns up missing, the sheriff (Matthew McConaughey) has his eyes on Bernie, but no one in town would believe anything but the very best of good old Bernie.

This is a very dark comedy, but done is a very light way. This is based on a true story, and just like all the townsfolk who can’t believe anything bad about Bernie, even though we know the truth, we can’t accept it either, and we keep waiting for the surprise ending to come. In the end, I guess it is a surprise at that. But this is done in the mockumentary style of so many other great jokester films, but yet it’s supposedly “mostly” true. The characters in this film are really good, and I think I’ve enjoyed Shirley MacLaine more in this film than I have in any of her films in a long time. She is really mean and funny at the same time. She does a great job and really shows her skills. The movie is really funny in a dark and twisted way, and not so much laugh out loud funny, but it runs at a high level of humor all the way through from start to finish. Even the discussion from the townsfolk as to whether Bernie is gay or not is never resolved and both sides have a good argument. Also good is Marjorie Nugent’s (Shirley MacLaine’s character) stock broker who is hilarious. He’s the most concerned about poor old Marjorie, but everyone simply believes he’s mad because he can’t get his hands on any more of her money now that she only trusts Bernie. That’s probably true. Available as a “Watch Instantly” film on NetFlix, this was a very pleasant surprise for me. I had no clue what to expect, but with the cast, I was willing to take a chance on it. I was really glad I did.

EdG – EdsReview Dot Com – A Movie Review Blog

==Written by Ed Goettman ==

==From: Ed's Review Dot Com (
The first of many enchanting title cards that show up as loose chapter markers in Richard Linklater's sweet little movie about murder in a small Texas town reads, "What you're fixin' to see is a true story." It sets the perfect down-home tone for the charming, if occasionally gruesome story of an East Texas funeral director named Bernie Tiede, whose sociable selflessness, empathetic demeanor, and guileless personality won him the friendship of the whole town of Carthage, especially the little old ladies. He even captivated the good graces of the meanest and richest old lady of them all, Marjorie Nugent (Shirley MacLaine), eventually becoming her business manager and constant companion. But even with the patience of Job and the compassion of Jesus, eventually Bernie couldn't take it anymore and in a fit of pique shot her in the back four times then dumped her body in a freezer. That synopsis hardly seems the stuff of a lighthearted comedy that energizes a large ensemble of endearing characters. But in the hands of director Richard Linklater (who cowrote the script with Skip Hollandsworth, who originally reported the story for Texas Monthly magazine), the tale is simultaneously knee-slappingly funny and head-shakingly poignant. Jack Black stays dead-on and in character, with nary a trademark Black-ian wink to his audience. He is genuinely sympathetic as the adorable and unfailingly affable closeted gay man who devotes any spare moment not spent artistically fawning over the recently deceased to countless community service activities, like directing school musicals, coaching little league, helping roughnecks with their taxes, and making earnest googly eyes with Carthage's blue-haired biddies. But the movie's biggest success springs from its stylistic device of using ersatz interviews with characters and several non-actors who knew the real Bernie. These offbeat and articulate throwaways provide exposition about the man and his crime, which both remain entirely credible. It would play like incredible real life even without the bit of jailhouse vérité video that rolls under the credits, showing Jack Black interviewing the real Bernie Tiede. MacLaine's appearance is relatively fleeting, but she embodies with delectable aplomb a mean, cranky old bag who's too insufferable even for over-tolerant Bernie. Also adding to the wacky, pseudo-realistic charm is Matthew McConaughey as a quintessential Texas prosecutor. McConaughey's dilemma is how to win the conviction of a confessed cold-blooded murderer the townspeople believe should go scot-free because he's such a sweet man and his victim only got what she deserved. The mixture of interview segments and dramedic reenactments tiptoe gently but sometimes set off comedy booby traps in a very well-configured minefield of sweetness and dark. Though it's a small and gentle film, Bernie packs a great deal of formal flair in breaking new ground. It's understated and unremarkable, but there's really never been anything quite like it. It's also an unassuming career highlight for Black, McConaughey, MacLaine, and Linklater all around. --Ted Fry
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Spanish (Spain, Traditional Sort)

English (United States)

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Dolby Digital

Dolby Digital

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