Monday, February 07, 2011
Paul Giamatti was robbed
Giamatti, who I've loved as an actor forever (remember him in Bottle Shock and The Illusionist?), plays Barney with a frumpy anger and internal dislike of himself that's absolutely true to life. Barney must be the saddest man on earth and, though he's embarrassed by it, he often cries. His aging process - and kudos to the makeup artists in this film - is absolutely believable. It may be that he wouldn't win an Oscar - but he absolutely 100% deserved to be nominated. I'm sad for him and for us, because I'd love to see him get the spotlight he deserves for this movie.
The rest of the cast is just as good - the men who play his friends both as young men and then aging are terrific. You watch them drink and do drugs and party in the 70s and then you see them as they age into (in most cases) people with lives and careers. And the women who play his wives - astonishing. Minnie Driver does a terrific job as a wanna be sexpot and Rosamund Pike is absolutely true to life as a woman who loves Barney and learns to live - for a very long time - with his eccentricities.
And Dustin Hoffman as Barney's father? He's great - as good as I've seen him. He takes what might, with another actor, be a small role and turns it into something absolutely central to the movie and to Barney. Barney's self loathing are tempered by his relationships with his father and his long-time third wife (Rosamund Pike) and, towards the end, by his children. This is a story about family - the family we are related to and the family we choose.
This is a movie worth watching.