Bernard and Doris (2007)

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Movie Info

Director Bob Balaban's fictional drama presents a speculative exploration of the relationship shared between wealthy tobacco heiress Doris Duke (Susan Sarandon) and her Irish butler Bernard Lafferty (Ralph Finnes) who, after just six years working as Duke's servant, was posthumously awarded complete control of his former boss' multi-million dollar fortune. Serendipitously showing up on Duke's doorstep just after the temperamental grand dame has dismissed her previous butler, Lafferty immediately … More

Rating: Unrated
Genre: Drama, Comedy
Directed By:
Written By: Hugh Costello
In Theaters:
On DVD: Apr 29, 2008
Runtime:
HBO

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Cast


as Doris Duke

as Bernard Lafferty

as Chauffeur
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Critic Reviews for Bernard and Doris

All Critics (3) | Top Critics (1)

This stunner of a movie is so far under the radar you'll have to go to HBO to find it. Get crackin'. It's the hip antidote to multiplex junk such as Mad Money and Meet the Spartans.

January 30, 2008
Rolling Stone
Top Critic

Bernard and Doris is a fun enough diversion, but it's wishy-washy and doesn't dig dive enough into comedy, tragedy, sympathy, suspense, or anything else to make it ultimately memorable.

Full Review… | February 25, 2008
Filmcritic.com

Keeps sentimentality at a minimum, and takes its potential cliches (the rich hellraiser, the gay butler) and finds something fresh in them.

Full Review… | February 9, 2008
eFilmCritic.com

Audience Reviews for Bernard and Doris

½

An OK movie - Bernard is an alcoholic gay butler who works for a tobacco heiress - Doris Duke. Over the years, Bernard lands up looking after Doris, and in fact when Bernard has a relapse, Doris cares for Bernard.

Redlats
Red Lats

Super Reviewer

½

[font=Century Gothic]Is it just me or was Ralph Fiennes born to play a butler which he does with aplomb in the enjoyable "Bernard and Doris" which might have been even better if done as a stage play? Partly based on fact, Bernard Lafferty(Ralph Fiennes), a butler, had previously been employed by the likes of Elizabeth Taylor and Peggy Lee but has been out of work for the past six months due to problems with alcohol. His car breaks down on the way to an interview with tobacco heiress Doris Duke(Susan Sarandon) who goes through butlers the same way some people go through chocolate. She quickly takes a liking to him, hiring him which allows him to confidently take charge of her large household. In point of fact, this would be the most important relationship of their lives, however platonic. It might be a cliche that Bernard is a sexless gay man(Doris more than makes up for Bernard, not to mention the state of New Jersey and most of Delaware), but there is a lot of repression to overcome which might also explain his alcoholism. Doris helps but not in a controlling fashion. As Bernard puts it, a butler lives in someone else's world constantly, and nobody's is as colorful as Doris' who does the most with what has been given her while also contributing generously to charities to make up for some of the blood money she inherited. In the end, she rejects the various spiritualities that she flirted with.[/font]

Harlequin68
Walter M.

Super Reviewer

Extremely interesting bio-pic about Doris Duke (Susan Sarandon) and the relationship she developed with her butler, Bernard Lafferty (Ralph Fiennes). Both of them fought their demons but found someone to care about and for in this fictionalized account of their bond and how it may have developed. Brilliantly played by both actors, Ms Sarandon captured the neediness of Ms Duke and made her unreasonable demands and insatiable appetites wholly believable. Mr Fiennes played his role very low-keyed and seemed exactly right in it. One could see how the love and respect grew between these two people from completely different backgrounds. A tale of redemption and rehabilitation. She lived her life as she pleased and he lived his life in her world.

Mark Abell
Mark Abell

Super Reviewer

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