April 27th 2012
  • Comedy/Drama,
  • PG-13,
  • 98 min,
  • Other
  • Cast: Matthew McConaughey, Jack Black, Shirley MacLaine, Tommy G. Kendrick, Gary Teague, Rick Dial, Mona Lee Fultz, Brady Coleman, Dale Dudley, Grant James, Larry Jack Dotson, Wendy Crouse, Sonny Carl Davis, David Blackwell, Juli Erickson, Richard Jones, Gabriel Luna, Jerry Biggs, Richard Robichaux, Veronica Orosco, Amparo GarcĂ­a, Chris Humphrey
  • Director: Richard Linklater
  • Writers: Skip Hollandsworth, Richard Linklater
  • Producers: Liz Glotzer, David McFadzean, Dete Meserve, Judd Payne, Celine Rattray, Martin Shafer, Ginger Sledge, Matt Williams
  • Co Producers: Hardy Justice, Kirsten McMurray, Mark Mower
  • Associate Producers: Rav Indran, Todd J. Labarowski, Sean McEwen, Shane Stanger
  • Executive Producers: Michael Bassick, William T. Conway, Don Fox, Jack Gilardi Jr., Alex Gudim, Lissa Gudim, Ken Hirsh, Johnny Lin, Duncan Montgomery, Darby Parker, Jack Selby, John Sloss
  • Art Direction: Rodney Becker
  • Costume Design: Kari Perkins
  • D.O.P.: Dick Pope
  • Editor: Sandra Adair
  • Makeup: Pamela S. Westmore
  • Music: Graham Reynolds
  • Production Design: Bruce Curtis


A darkly comic docudrama detailing the unusual friendship between a likable Texas mortician and a wealthy but reviled widow, and the shocking crime that followed. Inspired by Hollandsworth's 1998 Texas Monthly article, Bernie takes place in Carthage, TX, where effeminate mortician Bernie Tiede (Jack Black) enjoys a reputation as a friendly and upstanding member of the community. Marjorie Nugent (Shirley MacLaine), on the other hand, couldn't hold a lower position on the local social scale.

Repressed and bitter, nasty Marjorie has isolated herself from her neighbors, and as a result has been essentially shunned in her small town. The moment Bernie shows Marjorie a shred of kindness, she clings to him tightly and refuses to let go. Meanwhile, as Marjorie becomes Bernie's sugar mama and the pair becomes inseparable, the local rumor mill begins to churn.

Eventually, her intense jealousy becomes too much for Bernie to take. When the caustic widow's body is discovered stuffed in her own freezer, local District Attorney Buck Davidson (Matthew McConaughey) vows that justice will be served, but he finds it difficult to build a convincing case against Bernie as the locals rally to his defense.

Basic Information

  • Aspect Ratio: 1.85:1
  • Filming Locations: Texas, USA
  • MPAA Warning: Some violent images and brief strong language
  • Production Budget: $6 million
  • Production Companies: Castle Rock Entertainment, Collins House Productions, Deep Freeze Production, Horsethief Pictures, Mandalay Vision, Wind Dancer Productions
  • Production Schedule: October 2010 - November 2010

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2012 Guide Analysis: This first film in three years for Richard Linklater debuted at the 2011 Los Angeles Film Festival where it scored quite good (but not great) reviews with many critics in attendance claiming "Bernie" was Jack Black's best work in years.

The kicker here is that it's based on a true story of a local mortician who strikes up a friendship with a wealthy widow and then kills her - going to great lengths to maintain the illusion that she's alive.

Residents of Carthage, Texas where the real incident took place are reportedly unimpressed that a black comedy is being made out of what was a rather brutal murder.

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