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The US President and UK Prime Minister fancy a war. But not everyone agrees that war is a good thing. The US General Miller doesn't think so and neither does the British Secretary of State ... See full summary »
We meet Bernie Tiede (1958- ), a chubby undertaker, who takes pride in his work. He's a Gospel-singing tenor. In a series of interviews with townspeople, mixed with flashbacks, we follow Bernie: he arrives in Carthage, Texas (pop. 7,000), where old ladies adore him; he befriends a wealthy, mean-spirited widow named Marjorie Nugent; they become companions in both daily routines and expensive vacations. Among those interviewed, only her stockbroker and Danny Buck, the local district attorney, are unsympathetic toward the sunny, sometimes saccharine Bernie. Marjorie changes from sour and alone to happy with Bernie; then she gets possessive. What will sweet Bernie do? Written by
The owners of the Hawthorn Funeral Home in Carthage, Texas, where Bernie Tiede met Marjorie Nugent, refused to allow the film to use the name of the funeral home. See more »
Late in the movie Bernie is driving and he gets a call on he's mobile phone, which is an iPhone. The first iPhone wasn't released until 2007, well after the events in the movie took place. See more »
I'm very honored to introduce our guest lecturer today. He graduated from here about 15 years ago. He's gone on to a fabulous career. I can't think of a single person who's more qualified or more adept at the final procedures you've been studying lately. Now you've learned the science. Now's your chance to learn the art. Students, Mr. Bernie Tiede...
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Before the main credits roll, photos of the real-life Bernie and Marjorie together are shown, along with a brief video of Bernie Teide talking with Jack Black. See more »
Bernie is a story so bizarre it must be true. In the small town of Carthage, Texas, funeral director Bernie Tiede murdered the elderly Marjorie Nugent. The stranger than fiction of it all begins when after this act, Bernie continues to manage her affairs while lying to the townsfolk and deceiving them into thinking she is still alive. It becomes stranger when he maintains this ruse for several months. The strangest part of it all is when he's found out, no one is outraged and wanting to see him stand trial. In fact, the townsfolk are so in love with Bernie that they paint the man prosecuting him, Danny Buck, as somewhat of a villain for even wanting Bernie to face jail in the first place.
This is a very bizarre true story, and writer/director Richard Linklater portrays it in an appropriately unique fashion. Rarely the one to go the conventional route, Linklater uses a blend of semi-fictionalized recreations of the lives of Bernie and Marjorie along with interview footage of the real people of Carthage, as they give their own thoughts on the two of them and the events that transpired under their very noses. Seeing the people talk about Bernie, putting him up on this pedestal of being a lovely community man who would be "first on the list of people going to heaven", the film takes on this eerie atmosphere that is discomforting but absolutely fascinating. This man is a murderer, of an old woman no less, and yet they still treat him the same as they always did.
Linklater brings in Jack Black, Shirley MacLaine and Matthew McConaughey to portray the fictionalized versions of Tiede, Nugent and Buck, along with a cast of supporting actors who are so convincingly in tune with the Carthage way that I had trouble figuring out who were the real townspeople and who were the actors. Linklater tunes in so thoroughly to this bizarre behavior of the town that everything molds together in such a fluid fashion and the whole thing becomes this semi-documentary account of this incredibly fascinating story. The headline actors do some of their finest work in years (or of their careers, certainly in the case of Black) under the direction of Linklater here and create characters who feel unique and just as real as those actual townspeople.
There were times where I felt that maybe it painted a little bit too much of a sympathetic light on Tiede, but in a way that works best of all as it's exactly how the town saw him as well. Linklater isn't a director who I can say I've been particularly fond of over his career, but he's always managed to be interesting and it's no surprise here that he took an unconventional approach to this story and made it work. Led by a career best performance from Black, who so thoroughly embodies this charming and slightly off person, Bernie is something you've got to see to believe.
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