6.6/10
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25 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
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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

Susan Sarandon owns the dog who plays Doris' pet. The dog's name is Penny, a Pomeranian Maltese. 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 Lawrence of Arabia (1962) 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

 
It's all about the characters
17 June 2008 | by Ross8See all my reviews

"Bernard and Doris" is a quiet story about a billionairess and her butler brought to life by great actors, a good script and a director that let's them be. Doris Duke inherited millions of tobacco money at a very early age and tried to live a life. Bernard Lafferty was Irish-born, barely literate and simply wanted to do his job -- take care of Doris. He was rewarded, upon her death, with controlling interest in her estate. He died three years later of complications of alcoholism, a disease that plagued him throughout his life. This movie, directed by character actor Bob Balaban and starring Susan Sarandon and Ralph Finnes, is steady and clear in its purpose -- to show us who these people were. Duke was shrewd with her money and philanthropic, too. She gave generously to the arts and education. Her personal life was a mess. She paid for sex with a very young piano player, much to Bernard's displeasure. Rarely do I talk about the soundtrack. It's usually a "heard but not noticed" kind of thing. In "Bernard and Doris" the soundtrack is integral. Wonderful jazz. Bernard worked for Peggy Lee at one point. He knew music and Doris even performed as part of a gospel group. Music was important to this pair. There's even sexual tension here, despite the fact that Bernard was gay. Frankly, that makes it all the more interesting. Finally, there isn't much excitement in "Bernard and Doris." It's all about characters. I found it a joy to watch two of the best actors on the planet become them.


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