Richard Linklater (2011)

12 Certificate


Our Score
A true curio from principled indie stalwart Richard Linklater (Slacker), this is the blackly comedic true story of the 39-year-old mortician's assistant who in 1996 shot his 81-year-old companion, but was so well-regarded in the small east Texas town of Carthage that the authorities felt he could not be guaranteed a fair trial there. Jack Black, star of Linklater's breakout mainstream hit School of Rock, gives a touching, lower-key performance as Bernie Tiede, a generous, fastidious, God-fearing man with the pipes of an angel who regards chaste friendships with elderly widows as part of the service. Shirley MacLaine has less chance to shine as the wealthy heiress whose possessive, thin-lipped nagging finally drives mild-mannered Bernie to first-degree murder. Dangerously blurring fact and fiction, Linklater interviews countless local people, whose down-home on-screen testimony - often unintentionally amusing - drives the story. But these constant talking heads also slow it down, leaving us with a string of well-acted vignettes and little chance to get under the skin of the characters.


An amiable mortician befriends a bad-tempered wealthy widow and starts managing her financial affairs. He murders her, then continues spending her money and maintaining the illusion she is still alive. When the truth comes to light, his reputation for kindness makes a trial by jury a difficult proposition. Fact-based drama, starring Jack Black, Shirley MacLaine and Matthew McConaughey.

Cast & Crew

Bernie Tiede Jack Black
Marjorie Nugent Shirley MacLaine
Danny Buck Matthew McConaughey
Scrappy Holmes Brady Coleman
Lloyd Hornbuckle Richard Robichaux
Don Leggett Rick Dial
Sheriff Huckabee Brandon Smith
Rev Woodard Larry Jack Dotson
Director Richard Linklater
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Other Information

Language: EnglishColourTheatrical distributor: The WorksGuidance: Swearing. Available on: DVDReleased on: 26 Apr 2013