Linklater has used witnesses to the truth to tell a lie.
Bernie is poised to be a tough sell for Millennium Entertainment, its mild star power likely incapable of offsetting a garish premise and mixed reviews.
| Original Score: 2.5/5
| Original Score: 2.5/4
Amusing and appealing, but only rarely cuts deep enough in its examination of a kindly small-town Texan who murdered the elderly widow he took care of.
A surprisingly shapeless true-crime farce which never creates a convincing context for the odd relationship between a pious East Texas mortician and his sugar mama.
| Original Score: 1.5/4
All those twangy, homespun observations interrupt and annotate the narrative until Black and MacLaine's scenes start to feel as trivial as reenactments on a true-crime TV show.
| Original Score: C+
Bernie isn't a particularly likeable guy and Black's opaque performance never lets us get beneath the surface to find a character we might actually care about.
| Original Score: 2/4
Almost vaudeville in spirit, it delights in American social clichés and kinks.
| Original Score: 2/5
For a motion picture about one person losing her life and another losing his freedom, "Bernie" doesn't deserve to be as flippant as it ultimately is.
You may be amused, but the laughter like the man, rings hollow.
You would be hard pressed to find a film that feels more true to a reporter's experience of an event. This isn't necessarily a good thing, at least not cinematically.
Bernie, like its lead character, has a degree of diffuse, aw-shucks charm, but it's also maddeningly opaque.
| Original Score: 6/10
It probably sounded great in the pitch room, but as an actual experience it's on the redundant side.
I didn't find it very entertaining, but it is at least trying something different.
There's not many movies that leave you wanting to give a convicted killer a great big hug. But this is one.
| Original Score: 4/5
Black curbs his most irritating tendencies to give an endearing and convincing performance. An affectionate, intelligent ode to the oddity of small-town America.
| Original Score: 4.5/5
... Bernie is an unusual film with charm to spare, but it also happens to be laugh out loud funny, enthralling, profoundly sad and ultimately one of the year's best films.
| Original Score: 5/5
Bernie delivers an abundance of belly laughs, but at its center is a confounding act committed by a man too beloved to be hated and a community too passionate to think clearly.
| Original Score: B+
Black is -- forgive me -- downright adorable as the behind-bars-for-life killer.
| Original Score: B
It's been a long time coming, but it turns out Bernie has been worth the wait.