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Bernie - A Movie Review

Here’s the moral of 'Bernie.' Don’t lie.

By Marielle SabbagPublished about a month ago 3 min read

Let this be a lesson to never tell lies.

Bernie is a 2011 film. This film tells the true story of a small-town mortician who strikes up a friendship with a wealthy widow. As Marjorie becomes over-demanding and takes advantage of Bernie’s kind nature, something snaps within the beloved and generous man leading to horrible consequences.

I am so glad I found this movie again because I watched it a very long time ago and I couldn’t remember the name of the film. Bernie does something different compared to most films based on true stories. Dark comedies are essential to the film universe. The movie is funny and teaches you a valuable lesson about telling the truth over lying.

The more films I watch with Jack Black, the more I see how multi-talented he is. Black has a knack for comedy. He is a splendid actor who shows off his singing voice, instrument work, and impressive dancing skills. Black was terrific in his performance, blending charm and sincerity into the role.

To study for his part, Black with Bernie Tiede in prison. Bernie is a generous man who spreads his kindness to everyone. He makes his job as a mortician more of a lighter degree to avoid turning people away. I was taken aback at how well he did in an emotional sequence.

Shirley MacLaine stars as Marjorie, a snippy older woman who befriends Bernie. The better definition of this relationship is that Marjorie orders Bernie around and forces him to do her chores. MacLaine has fun in the role. The dynamic between the two leads fuels much of the film's humor.

Matthew McConaughey plays a supporting role as Danny Buck, the town’s district attorney. I never realized that he had excellent comic relief. As for the rest of the cast, real-life townfolk from Bernie Tied’s hometown appeared, talking about Bernie. The film was reminiscent of a documentary.

The mockumentary style adds a layer of absurdity to it. However, the film didn’t need this style for the entire duration. More fictional points could have been added to it. While the interviews incorporated authenticity into the narrative, they dragged the story, taking us away from the narrative.

The story fell into the right hands. Richard Linklater didn’t turn Bernie into a villainous threat and was portrayed well by Jack Back. Right at the beginning, the film instantly introduces viewers to its dark comedy as Bernie educates a class on mortician duties. The interview portion dragged a bit.

One of the film's greatest strengths is its ability to weave humor and darkness. Not many filmmakers have a knack for doing that. Bernie delves into the darker aspects of human nature using a touch of comedy. It’s also left ambiguous if Bernie was an empathic man as described by the community.

From Bernie's over-the-top theatricality during funeral services to Marjorie's relentless manipulation, the film is amusing. Linklater masterfully blends comedy and tragedy, leaving the audience both amused and disturbed. I faltered from laughing in the opening scene because I didn’t know what kind of movie I was getting into.

Always give films a chance. Do not base anything on the opening scene or the premise. You never know if you’ll like a film. On another note, films like Bernie helps viewers learn meaningful lessons,

Here’s the moral of Bernie. Don’t lie. Lying only makes situations progressively worse. It doesn’t matter who you are. We all make mistakes, so unless you’re keeping a personal record - be real. Bernie is an underrated comedy so take a look at it on Prime.

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About the Creator

Marielle Sabbag

Writing has been my passion since I was 11 years old. I love creating stories from fiction, poetry, fanfiction. I enjoy writing movie reviews. I would love to become a creative writing teacher and leave the world inspiring minds.

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