Barfly - Movie Reviews - Rotten Tomatoes

Barfly Reviews

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August 8, 2016
Another 80's movie that I missed until right now. Over the top performance by Mickey Rourke, but that's what he does. Faye Dunaway is really good as his alcoholic girlfriend. The whole fighting Frank Stallone like 4 times is pretty dumb.
June 26, 2016
Only recently saw this, I was literally LOL and I hate that word, Mickey Rourke is amazing in this film.
½ May 9, 2016
Saga about alcoholics featuring fine performances from acclaimed performers.
February 22, 2016
The greatest movie ever - a good lesson on how to enjoy misery.
August 24, 2015
Idiotic, dull, and really who gives a shit.
July 23, 2015
Barbet Schroeder's adaptation of the great Charles Bukowski's script is amazing. At the time it came out I think it failed to fully connect with audience's because it's mix of "romance" with the darkly comical reality was so dramatically different from any films that had been made during the 1980's a lot of people were caught off guard.

Mickey Rourke's performance is part impersonation and part "Method" - it is a kind of woozy acting turn that challenges the audience to decide if we are watching a comedy or a tragedy. In it's own way, Rourke's work here is brilliant but seems intentionally off-key. It was also very shocking to see Rourke look like he did in this film at that time. This wasn't the scruffy erotic dare sort of work audiences were used to.

Faye Dunaway is truly brilliant. Her work in this film was tragically ignored. This is one of the few times I've seen Dunaway play against type and in opposition to her movie star persona. This is pre-plastic surgery Dunaway and an actor trying to escape the camp fever she created as Joan Crawford. While Cher was great in "Moonstruck" it still seems unfair that Dunaway's work failed to receive the praise it deserved.

The movie has aged incredibly well. Even at the time I first saw it I remember thinking it could have easily been set in the 1970's. It has a timeless feel.

It also captures the essence of Bukowski's personality, philosophy and legend. It was rumored that both Rourke and Dunaway detested Barbet Schroeder. This is all the more interesting as he somehow pulled them to give some of their finest acting work.
April 8, 2015
Misery loves company in this booze filled drama of life on the fringes.
½ March 21, 2015
Although I liked Bukowski's book, the film - not so much.
October 5, 2014
Micky Rourke is fantastic as Chinaski the character based on Bukowski himself. This film is funny, sad and philosophical but more important its a joy to watch.
½ September 28, 2014
One hour into the movie and I was out. Too gloomy, too colorless, too boring. We all fancy some social lubricants every now then, but god-help-me if Barfly isn't the alcoholic equivalent of pure greed. Sort of like Gekko but drunk all the time. As much as I appreciate Mr.Bukowski for his literary work and general view on life, I sure as hell wouldn't want to lead the life he did.
½ September 26, 2014
Barfly is a story about a bunch of losers two of them in particular, Henry and Wanda. Life is lived one day at a time. You never know what will happen next day, you never plan anything. Just is life. Henry and Wanda have some superb dialogues, couldn't be other way the screenplay was written by Charles Bukowski.
September 7, 2014
In my opinion, this is one of the best movies to come out of the 1980's. Faye Dunaway has not been this good since NETWORK and Mickey Rourke's work is at once comical and tragic. Everything about this movie just works brilliantly. A must see -- particularly if you love Bukowski.
August 3, 2014
I Loved Every Minute of This Picture!!!!
May 29, 2014
Mickey Rourke has his best performance here in the skid row of 1980's Los Angeles. He lives as close to the edge as any true artist must. Despite appearances, his character is not a bum but sort of a beautiful soul. You can call his motives perverse or you can call them noble, one things for sure though - he is entertaining every second he is on screen.
April 14, 2014
I'm not even that big of a fan of Bukoski's poetry or the man himself. This movie is funny, sweet, cruel and, I think, very re-watchable.
½ April 14, 2014
It was ok. Mickey Rourke used to be handsome.
April 4, 2014
With a screenplay by Charles Bukowski (bringing his own alter ego Henry Chinaski to life) and a killer performance by Mickey Rourke, there is much to enjoy here.
March 5, 2014
Good for Bukowski, not great
March 3, 2014
If Martin Scorsese directed a movie in slow motion and dirtied it up a little more, he'd get the ultimate foray into a humans bout with alcoholism. So here, I give you the little seen gem from 1987, Barfly.

Mickey Rourke in the title role, takes method acting to a whole new level. I'm not sure what happened between takes, but I feel that he might have stayed in character, didn't shower, probably wore the same clothes, and went by the name of his lead, Henry Chinaski. He drinks like a fish, inhabits the slumming L.A. bars, and gets into fights with a bartender named Eddie (played effectively by Sly Stallone's brother, Frank Stallone). When he's not fighting, failing to pay his rent, and aspiring to be a writer, he gets the attention of a beautiful older woman (another drunk played by Faye Dunaway as Wanda Wilcox). They form an interesting relationship that anchors a large majority of what's on screen. As they wallow in their drunkenness, Henry is pursued by a detective and a women news writer who wants to publish one of his stories.

Almost feeling like a film told in a dreamlike state, Barfly is a character study that revels in irony and self-loathing. It's dirty, free forming, and harbors grubby, all too realistic performances. The side characters are people who you'd find in an alley and kinda look like homeless vagabonds. This is truly Los Angeles at its most depressing and most hideous. The script is based on the writings and life of the famed novelist Charles Bukowski. And the short running time sort of ends and begins in the same exact way. There are some quotable lines, an honest, demented take on the concept of dying, and a cameo by the screenwriter and novelist himself.

Ultimately, it's Rourke's shining moment and Barfly succeeds because of him and almost nothing else. During the first half of the proceedings, his inebriated Henry utters the line, "don't worry, no one's loved me yet." Well this critic loved Mickey's realistic, balls out performance. Forget his Oscar nominated turn in The Wrestler. This is "bar" none, his best work.
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