I also saw Barney's Version at the theater this weekend. I think it's been out in limited release since 2010, but it finally came to a theater near me for the first time this weekend. It was a movie that could have been great if not for it's 2 hour and 12 minute run time. I was actually pretty drawn into it for the first hour and a half or so, but then I started squirming around in my seat waiting for it to end. Not that it was uncomfortable to watch or anything, but it did begin to drag eventually, as expected from almost any movie of that length. If you've heard me complain before about long movies and you're wondering why I keep seeing movies if they are so long, it's because there are many great movies that are long in duration. But you have to sit through a lot of draggy ones to find the gems. In fact, in terms of drama movies over two hours, Barney's Version didn't do that bad. I've seen 2 and 1/2 hour movies I wished were 80 minutes before. This wasn't one of those, but maybe just hack off 15-20 minutes and it probably would have been alright.
The film's strong point was a great performance by Paul Giamatti. I wanted to say he's one of Hollywood's most underrated actors, but I'm not sure that's true anymore, is it? I think by now he's finally considered more of a A-list actor than he used to be, with his roles in Sideways, Cinderella Man, and John Adams and such. Maybe A-list is too strong, more like B+ list, but you get what I'm saying. The Barney character is an unlikable person in almost every way, but it was Giamatti's performance that made me care even just a little bit about what happens to this guy.
This was also based on some critically acclaimed and beloved novel. I didn't read the source material, but it came across as a film that's probably not as good as the book it's based on. It seemed like a story that would benefit from hearing Barney's inner dialogue as well. But for the record, I'm not one of those book purists who thinks that any film based on a novel isn't as good as the book. I could name plenty of films I thought were better than the book, but that's a whole different thread. But seeing as though I felt Barney's Version was just average, and there is apparently a great book associated with it, I'll lean towards the book being better without even having to read it.
Oops, I didn't really even watch the trailer before I posted it, sorry. I didn't realize it was that bad, but they sure do give away plenty of plot points. That was kind of ridiculous. If it's any consolation, they didn't give away everything.