[Last Time I Saw] Bernard And Doris (2006)

Bernard and Doris poster

Title: Bernard And Doris
Year: 2006
Country: USA/UK
Language: English
Genre: Drama
Director: Bob Balaban
Writer: Hugh Costello
Music: Alex Wurman
Cinematography: Mauricio Rubinstein
Cast:
Susan Sarandon
Ralph Fiennes
James Rebhorn
Chris Bauer
Nick Rolfe
Rating: 6.5/10

This is a HBO film, made exclusively for the small screen, TV films usually cover historical and biographic productions, this one is semi-biographic, the film encircles around the story between the tobacco billionairess Doris Duke and her gay butler Bernard Lafferty.

Director Bob Balaban is also a well-known actor, so it seems that he knows proficiently how to grapple the camera in front of his actors. The film largely depends on two leads’ performances, as the conflict and dramatic friction are subtle and the emotional pulse is limitedly detectable. However the theatrical magic within is a pleasure to watch, Sarandon has not been so intensely brilliant for a rather long time and Fiennes is superb as always to release an energetic power which could dilute Sarandon’s sharp embodiment of her character’s misery and attractiveness.

During the progress of watching this film, I can easily perceive the glamour from the exquisite dialogues which are as if a duel between these two protagonists from different hierarchy, how their relationship evolves, how they realize that they are inseparable from a weird but sensible love. When love transcends race, age, class or even sexual orientation, there is always lots of humanity can intrigue us to dwell on in an endlessly labyrinthian way.

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