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A story so unbelievable it must be true. 

Year: 2013 
Running Time:
Aspect Ratio: 1.85:1 (XWide) 
Certificate: BBFC 12A Cert – Under 12s admitted only with an adult 
Subtitles: This film is not expected to be subtitled, though this cannot be guaranteed. 
Directed by Richard Linklater 
Starring: Jack Black, Shirley Maclaine, Matthew McConaughey  
An image from Bernie

A quirky comedy-drama, Bernie is a jovial yet gracefully told tale about a murder in Carthage: a small Texas town where the smallest events prove to have a vast and disproportionate historical bearing. Assistant funeral director Bernie Tiede played by Jack Black (School of Rock) was one of the town's most beloved residents. It came as no surprise when he befriended Marjorie Nugent (Shirley MacLaine), an affluent widow who was as well-known for her sour attitude as her fortune. As Marjorie quickly became dependent on Bernie and his generosity, Bernie struggled to meet her increasing demands. Bernie continued to handle her affairs but the people of Carthage were shocked when it was reported that Marjorie Nugent had been dead for some time, and Bernie Tiede was responsible.

Based on true events, Linklater (Before Sunrise) tells the story in documentary style, combining straight scenes with interviews given by residence of Carthage. Co-written by Linklater and journalist Skip Hollandsworth, Linklater's ever articulate voice for closely observed stories of ordinary lives and random encounters is notably present whilst his Texan roots can be felt in every scene in this story of small-town gossips.

The film is rife with wit, heart, and mid-American humour. Walking a thin line between seriousness and absurdity, Bernie is made by Black's delicate portrayal of the title character.

Alina Haddad

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Screenings of this film:

2013/2014 Autumn Term (digital)