Bernie - Movie Reviews - Rotten Tomatoes

Bernie Reviews

Top Critic
Tom Long
Detroit News
May 25, 2012
"Bernie' isn't a monumental film, but it is a finely tuned character study with some nice innovations.
Full Review | Original Score: B
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Rene Rodriguez
Miami Herald
May 24, 2012
The question of why the law must always be upheld, regardless of consequences, gives this light, amiable movie a surprising heft and weight.
Full Review | Original Score: 3/4
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Lisa Kennedy
Denver Post
May 18, 2012
Bernie has chuckles, but it's hardly riotous. And this is a good thing.
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Jennie Punter
Globe and Mail
May 18, 2012
Propelled by a perfectly cast trio of stars whose eccentricities shine in singular character roles, Bernie is charmer.
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Calvin Wilson
St. Louis Post-Dispatch
May 18, 2012
Black is terrific. Rather than winking at the audience, he plays Bernie as a guy who's thoroughly unaware that there's anything unconventional about his behavior.
Full Review | Original Score: 3.5/4
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Ann Hornaday
Washington Post
May 18, 2012
"Bernie" unfolds into many equally rich narrative strands: love story, southern Gothic slice-of-life and, finally tragedy and legal thriller...
Full Review | Original Score: 3/4
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Michael Phillips
Chicago Tribune
May 17, 2012
Linklater's a glider, not a pile-driver; he hangs back when other directors prefer to bore in.
Full Review | Original Score: 3/4
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Mick LaSalle
San Francisco Chronicle
May 17, 2012
It allows director Richard Linklater to explore his own roots while telling a remarkable real-life story, something too crazy for anyone to make up.
Full Review | Original Score: 4/4
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Moira MacDonald
Seattle Times
May 17, 2012
It's a darkly funny, irresistible film - and one with a masterful performance at its center.
Read More | Original Score: 3.5/4
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Ty Burr
Boston Globe
May 17, 2012
The movie's bright and endearing and surprisingly lacking in a point. I wish I liked it better, but it's a start.
Full Review | Original Score: 2.5/4
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Colin Covert
Minneapolis Star Tribune
May 17, 2012
A one-of-a-kind comedy based on the real homicide of an innocent old lady.
Full Review | Original Score: 3.5/4
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Steven Rea
Philadelphia Inquirer
May 17, 2012
[A] weirdly funny, inspiring film.
Full Review | Original Score: 3.5/4
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J. R. Jones
Chicago Reader
May 17, 2012
Some of the best performances come from real-life residents of Carthage as they share their recollections on camera.
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Bill Goodykoontz
Arizona Republic
May 17, 2012
A dead-solid-perfect depiction of small-town life.
Full Review | Original Score: 4/5
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Bruce Demara
Toronto Star
May 17, 2012
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.
Full Review | Original Score: 2/4
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John Anderson
Newsday
May 11, 2012
Linklater, admirably unconcerned about how his film can be categorized, has made a comedy, a drama and most certainly a character study.
Full Review | Original Score: 3.5/4
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Chris Vognar
Dallas Morning News
May 3, 2012
Watching Bernie is a little like sitting on a shady front porch and gossiping with the town tattlers.
Full Review | Original Score: B+
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Roger Ebert
Chicago Sun-Times
May 3, 2012
I had to forget what I knew about Black. He creates this character out of thin air, it's like nothing he's done before, and it proves that an actor can be a miraculous thing in the right role.
Read More | Original Score: 3.5/4
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Richard Roeper
Richard Roeper.com
May 2, 2012
Has a little bit of an East Texas Fargo feel. Jack Black gives one of his best performances.
Full Review | Original Score: 4.5/5
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Richard Brody
New Yorker
May 1, 2012
A jovial yet gracefully told tale.
Top Critic
April 28, 2012
The wonder of Black's performance here is its empathy and balance: inasmuch as he can disappear into any role, he dissolves into this one with no hint of mocking remove. It's a beautiful thing to see.
Top Critic
Joe Neumaier
New York Daily News
April 28, 2012
A movie that may not ultimately add up to much, but which is filled with wonderfully odd details of weird Americana.
Full Review | Original Score: 3/5
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Dana Stevens
Slate
April 27, 2012
Much more than a macabre true-crime tale: It's a story of thwarted love, not between two people, but between a man and a whole town.
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Peter Rainer
Christian Science Monitor
April 27, 2012
It's a gentle, light-fingered horror story, and it rightfully leaves us as bewildered as the denizens of Carthage.
Full Review | Original Score: A-
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Stephen Whitty
Newark Star-Ledger
April 27, 2012
Linklater clearly has no idea why the man did what he did. But then, Bernie probably didn't either.
Read More | Original Score: 3/4
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Lou Lumenick
New York Post
April 27, 2012
Jack Black gives the performance of his career in the title role of "Bernie"...
Full Review | Original Score: 3.5/4
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Betsy Sharkey
Los Angeles Times
April 26, 2012
A true-life Texas tale so perfectly told it seems more like eavesdropping than moviegoing.
Full Review | Original Score: 4/5
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Manohla Dargis
New York Times
April 26, 2012
A sordid, bleak tale about two lonely people drawn to each other like colliding planets.
Read More | Original Score: 4/5
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Joe Morgenstern
Wall Street Journal
April 26, 2012
The movie itself, a partly true and cheerfully embellished account of a Texas murder case, presents a case of narrative drift.
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Peter Travers
Rolling Stone
April 26, 2012
As played by Jack Black, in an award-caliber performance, Bernie is everything you'd want in a friend. The movie is a one-of-a-kind inspiration.
Full Review | Original Score: 3/4
Top Critic
Scott Tobias
AV Club
April 26, 2012
A true-crime story where the real mystery isn't what happened, but the bizarre context for the murder and the collective madness of a town that couldn't accept it at face value.
Full Review | Original Score: B+
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Mary F. Pols
TIME Magazine
April 25, 2012
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.
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Adam Markovitz
Entertainment Weekly
April 25, 2012
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.
Full Review | Original Score: C+
Top Critic
James Rocchi
MSN Movies
April 25, 2012
Even at its most charming as a defense of small-town eccentrics and Texas-style legal process, the film plays a little slowly.
Full Review | Original Score: 3/5
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Jake Coyle
Associated Press
April 25, 2012
Throughout, there's a tension of real life and fiction, and a pervading sense that fiction has little chance of matching the real thing.
Full Review | Original Score: 3/4
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Rex Reed
New York Observer
April 25, 2012
I, for one, eagerly await the sequel to Bernie.
Full Review | Original Score: 3.5/4
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Joshua Rothkopf
Time Out
April 24, 2012
Taking its time with a flavorful middle section, the movie builds into a true-crime treat; some will think of Fargo (apt, but this movie is gentler), others, the documentaries of Werner Herzog.
Full Review | Original Score: 5/5
Top Critic
Nick Pinkerton
Village Voice
April 24, 2012
A chafing, rock-in-the-shoe kind of movie -- and I mean this as a compliment.
Top Critic
David Denby
New Yorker
April 23, 2012
Linklater has made a smart movie, with a mordant satirical edge, but he almost falls victim to his own sense of authenticity.
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Justin Chang
Variety
June 17, 2011
Pitch-perfect performances by Shirley MacLaine and an unusually restrained Jack Black hold together this offbeat true-crime saga, but Linklater's keen eye for human eccentricity flowers most memorably on the periphery.
Top Critic
Todd McCarthy
Hollywood Reporter
June 17, 2011
A splendid performance by Jack Black distinguishes this overly mild look at a 1990s Texas murder.