Movie Review: Bernie

Often things happen in our world where people feel that the outcome of the event is wrong. Though most of the time these events get swept under the rug and forgotten about.  In the case of a man who killed an 83 year old woman, the events were not forgotten.  The people did not feel that the story got out properly, so they took part in a dark comedy based around the murder.  The man who did the killing was named Bernie.  Here is my review of the ‘movie’.

Bernie starts off showing a class learning about how to prepare a corpse for a funeral.  This is a fun scene with Bernie, aka Jack Black, teaching the students.  Once Bernie is done and driving home, the interviews start.  These interviews seem to be with real town people who knew the real Bernie.  The talk about how good of a person Bernie was, how he came into town for the job, and how much he did for everyone while there.  This was a man with a good heart who wanted to make everyone else happy.  When he meets an older lady at her husband’s funeral, he decided to befriend her.

The woman that he made friends with was Marjorie Nugent, played by Shirley MacLaine.  Marjorie’s husband was rich and when he passed away she inherited this wealth.  While Bernie was around her, they did a lot of stuff together all on her dime, from going out to eat to flying first class on many vacations.  Marjorie was not close to her family and was not nice to anyone, so most townspeople did not like her.  She was cold and mean.  Though Bernie somehow got through that and became her friend.  Marjorie changed her will, putting Bernie as the one to get everything.  She let go of her help and started to have Bernie do all of the work, demanding it of him.  She was jealous when he would do things for and with others.

Bernie started to dread Marjorie’s calls since she was so demanding of him.  She knew one of the things she did was a pet peeve to him and would do it anyhow.  At one point, she blows up at him and when he goes to leave, she stops him from leaving.  Bernie is now feeling trapped and at one point he breaks.

Once Marjorie was dead, Bernie kept her death a secret and kept going about spending her money.  Though not on himself, all of the money was going to help others and to make life better for them.  The only person Bernie did not help with the money was himself.  He remained living in his own house and even refinanced his car and was having problems making the payments.  The film goes into the trial, as well.

While this is a movie, it does not feel like a normal movie at all.  It felt as if they were trying to do a documentary to get Bernie’s story out to the world.  The movie seems to lean towards Bernie’s side of the story, though they do give a lot of facts about Marjorie’s life.  The people in the town did not feel that Bernie should be locked away for her death, at least the people they have interviewed in this film.  They feel he was too good of a person, and even though he admits to what happens, some say they will never feel he did the killing.

This movie was entertaining, informative, and had some funny scenes.  Though in all seriousness, this was a true story that has a lot for people to think about.  Did Bernie deserve what happened in the trail?  He did kill someone.  Should he have been excused out of a moment of insanity?  That was for the jury to decide, and none of us see the real trial only one acted out for this film.  It makes it hard to judge the film when you know you’re thinking of a real story, yet you’re not seeing the real footage of the events that went down.  All of Bernie and Marjorie’s life in the movie is taken by the words of people, all scripted and acted.  It’s worth seeing and judging for yourself on how you feel about Bernie.

One of my favorite things in the movie though is the credits.  The credits go on with more parts of interviews with the people who knew Bernie and a song written about him.  You even get to see photos of the real Bernie.  It had everyone who stayed for the credits laughing.  It’s not every film that has stuff all the way through the credits like this film did.  So if you see it, stay for the credits.

While this is not a movie I need to see again, it was nice seeing it once.  Overall, I recommend the movie for people who are interested in seeing for themselves a trial that upset a town so much that citizens would take part in the movie.  It’s got humor, though it’s more trying to share the history than go through a movie.  The interviews take part all through the movie.  So if you’re curious do check out the movie.

Have you seen Bernie?  Did you know of the real story when it was going down?  How do you feel about Bernie?  Do you think he should've been free or that the jury was right?  Please share your thoughts, comments and questions below!

Entertainment Earth