The 2011 film, Bernie, is based on a true story taking place in Carthage, Texas. The real Bernie Tiede (that the movie is based off of) is currently serving a life sentence for murder, and actually has a WordPress blog that I discovered in my research. This blog can be found at http://www.freebernie.org.
I think that being able to connect this movie with it’s true identity is actually quite fascinating.
The Story: Bernie Tiede (played by Jack Black) is an assistant funeral director in Carthage, Texas, who quickly became popular among the locals upon his arrival. Bernie could make anyone (especially older women) feel good about themselves, and could ease their pain when they were hurting. He had many loving qualities that the locals fell head over heels for. He eventually meets Marjorie Nugent (Shirley MacLaine), a very wealthy local woman who had recently lost her husband. She was known for her cruelty and segregation from others, including her own family. Bernie, being his charming self, becomes her only friend over time and the two become closer and closer. But in time, Bernie gets not a taste, but a continuously force fed dose of the real Marjorie Nugent, causing the kindest person in town to snap.
Jack Black has played some hilarious roles in the past, making him one of my favorite comedic actors. This role of Bernie though, has him taking on a new personality for a not so typical “Jack Black” role. I found his part to played tremendously. He hit every characteristic of Bernie that the viewers needed to see to better understand what he was really like. And to top it all off, this movie also features interviews with some of the townspeople who knew Bernie, which plays throughout portions of the movie, adding to our understanding of this man.
Pros: This movie reached for the stars when it came to describing Bernie, and didn’t miss. The film’s setting was excellent, and the cast was perfect, also starring Matthew McConaughey. In the grand scheme of things this movie served it’s entertainment and educational purpose.
Cons: Perhaps there was too much focus on describing Bernie. In my first viewing of this film, I found myself annoyed with the townspeople interviews. I would honestly have preferred the movie without it, and still actually agree that it would be better without them. I have come to understand this part of the movie better, but I would rather see the movie focus on the story itself, than have additional input on the side provided by these people.
My rating: 85% for portraying in such a real way, a story that actually took place. I was especially fond of the pictures shown at the end of the film, showing us the real Bernie and Marjorie. The film makers did an excellent job connecting this movie to the actual events.
Thank you so much for taking the time to read this review and feel free to watch the trailer below.