6.5/10
3,482
26 user 17 critic

Bernard and Doris (2006)

The story of the twilight years of tobacco billionairess Doris Duke and her relationship with her gay butler, to whom she left her entire fortune.

Director:

Bob Balaban

Writer:

Hugh Costello
Reviews
Nominated for 3 Golden Globes. Another 29 nominations. See more awards »

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
Susan Sarandon ... Doris Duke
Ralph Fiennes ... Bernard Lafferty
Peter Asher ... First Butler
Don Harvey ... Security Guard
Chris Bauer ... Chef
Monique Gabriela Curnen ... Paloma
Marilyn Torres Marilyn Torres ... Nancy
Nick Rolfe Nick Rolfe ... Ben
James Rebhorn ... Waldo Taft
Dominick Dunne ... Board Member
Thomas J. McGrath Thomas J. McGrath ... Board Member
Gene Parseghian Gene Parseghian ... Board Member
Henry Schleiff Henry Schleiff ... Board Member
Calvin Trillin ... Board Member
Kunnath P. Namboodiri Kunnath P. Namboodiri ... Swami
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Storyline

Sympathetic look loosely based on the relationship between tobacco heiress, Doris Duke (1912-1993) - think Duke University - and her shy butler, Bernard Lafferty. The icy and mercurial Duke fires her butler for serving a chilled cantaloupe; the agency sends Lafferty, formerly household staff to Liz Taylor and to Peggy Lee. He's an alcoholic, fresh out of rehab. He gradually becomes Duke's gay alter ego as she romps through life sleeping with young men, making shrewd decisions quickly, managing her fortune and orchids as Lafferty manages her New Jersey estate. With a wine cellar to die for, Bernard falls off the wagon. Can he pull himself together when Doris needs him? Written by <jhailey@hotmail.com>

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis


Certificate:

TV-14 | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

View content advisory »
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Details

Country:

USA | UK

Language:

English

Release Date:

17 October 2007 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Bernard e Doris - O Mordomo e a Milionária See more »

Filming Locations:

New York City, New York, USA See more »

Company Credits

Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Dolby Digital

Color:

Color

Aspect Ratio:

1.78 : 1
See full technical specs »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

After being shown at a film festival, "Bernard and Doris" was sent directly to cable television rather than premiering in movie theatres. See more »

Goofs

When Doris is reading her will, she identifies her city of residence as Somerville, New Jersey. Duke Farms, the site of Duke's residence, is actually in neighboring Hillsborough, New Jersey. Duke Farm now operates as a nature preserve and public park. See more »

Quotes

[first lines]
Doris Duke: Ugh! What is this?
First Butler: Cantaloupe, ma'am.
See more »

Connections

References One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest (1975) See more »

Soundtracks

Somebody Nobody Loves
Written by Sy Miller (as Seymour Miller)
Performed by Peggy Lee
Courtesy of Columbia Records
By Arrangement with Sony BMG Music Entertainment
See more »

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User Reviews

 
Delicate, intense, quiet, wonderfully rendered
9 June 2016 | by secondtakeSee all my reviews

Bernard and Doris (2006)

A remarkably well told, subtle and moving movie. At first it might seem to about nothing, and the characters are stereotypes. But this is not at all the truth, as both Susan Sarandon and Ralph Fiennes are compelling and complex in their roles.

What finally happens between this butler who might have a drinking problem in his past and this woman who is a bit loose and unafraid of anyone is something neither of them expected. A kind of true love, though not in a normal, intimate way. Even better, really, respecting their different roles all along. Even at the end, when you know them and love them, the dramatic act that starts and then finishes the movie is tender and profound without a bit of sentiment or cheap heart-tugging. Well done!

The fact that this is based on a true story (loosely, they say) doesn't change the honest intimacy implied throughout. It's a quite movie—even as dramas go, it has lots of space and very quiet conversation. That's a strength, to me, but a warning to people looking for something more intense.

Mostly it's the really sincere, remarkable acting by the two leads, who take up almost every minute of screen time. You lose all sense that they are acting. Wonderful stuff. See it if it sounds like it might be your thing. Underrated.


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