Sometimes you just can’t make these stories up…
Bernie (Jack Black) is a beloved member of his small Texas town community. He works at a Funeral home as an assistant funeral director and he is a general do-gooder who checks up on all the little old ladies after the funeral of their husbands. Bernie becomes friends with a wealthy widow named Marjorie (Shirley MacLaine) who no one else likes at all for the pure fact that she’s mean. The usually overly nice Bernie cracks under the scrutiny and overbearing nature of his relationship with Marjorie and he kills her. He then goes to great lengths to hide her death. Believe it or not but this bizarre little story is TRUE.
I had an open mind with this quirky movie but it just seemed to move at a snail’s pace from start to finish. There was an upside though Jack Black, Shirley MacLaine and Matthew McConaughey, who plays the District Attorney, do a great job in there other than traditional roles. Even if you don’t think Jack Black is funny you have to admit he has the most animated facial expressions that in and of themselves are very entertaining. The story was fascinating, here is this man who commits murder, and yet is so beloved by the townsfolk because of his kind nature that most of them didn’t want to accept that he could commit such a heinous act; and even when they did, they shrugged it off as something Marjorie deserved. Throughout the movie the townspeople give their perspective of Bernie and the story and there are some colorful characters that gave me a chuckle (apparently some of them were real townspeople not actors). Bernie is a mix of a documentary and a crime story rolled up in this dark comedy. The superb acting wasn’t quite enough to make me love this movie, I would say you could pass on this one.
Motherly Advice: With filters set to Most Filtering language was the main thing removed. Since the movie revolves around a murder, that is a constant topic. Multiple gun shots at Marjorie are shown but that is it for violence. Marjorie, the town recluse, is seen berating people verbally most of the time when she is on screen. Bernie is shown working on a corpse in preparation for a person’s funeral, no excessive parts are shown mainly just him applying makeup to the face. Given the dark nature and eccentric story I wouldn’t suggest this for a young audience at all but if you choose to probably no one under 15.
Hannah - ClearPlay Do-Gooder