Dustin Hoffman has lead acting Oscars for “Kramer vs. Kramer” and “Rain Man.” But I think he’s going to surprise everyone this year for a Supporting nod in Richard Lewis’s compelling drama “Barney’s Version.”
“Barney’s Version” had its US premiere last night opening the Hamptons Film Festival–the much improved, mega hyped and star powered Hamptons Film Festival by the way. And while Dustin wasn’t here, Paul Giamatti was–and he’s likely headed into the Best Actor category in a spectacular performance as Barney aka prize winning (and sadly, gone) Canadian novelist Mordecai Richler.
Hoffman plays Barney’s father, a retired Montreal cop with a juicy personal life and a salty tongue. To make matters even more interesting, Hoffman’s real life son Jake plays Barney’s–Giamatti’s–son.
The other player here not to be missed is British actress Rosamund Pike, who is quite remarkable as the love of Barney’s life, his soul mate, wife and mother of his children. Pike is only 30 years old, but carries off the job of aging from about 28 to her mid sixties with disarming grace.
It’s not easy to bring this kind of massive novel to the screen, and sometimes “Barney’s Version” stumbles. But it also has moments of incredible greatness thanks to the talented cast and a canny makeup department.
Giamatti and Hoffman (in absentia) got a lot of praise last night from the star studded crowd including Alec Baldwin, Bob Balaban, and photographer Bruce Weber. Now the Hamptons International Film Festival bracs for an onslaught of A list names to hit the area from James Franco and Julian Schnabel to Freida Pinto, Tom Hooper, Stanley Tucci, and Isabella Rossellini.
For years veteran publicist Gary Springer carried the ball here, getting the HIFF ready for its closeup. Now ex New Liners Lina Plath and Clare Ann Darragh from the Frank PR have built on Gary’s work and turned this season into a real name dropper. Nice job!