So we are down in Carthage, Texas, which has been voted the second-nicest small town in Texas.
Jack Black stars as a super-nice Texan man who takes up with a rich widow twice his age.Everyone in town hates her, and when Bernie shoots her four times in the back, then leaves her body in the freezer and pretends she's still alive for months, everyone thinks she had it coming and no one wants to prosecute sweet old Bernie.I loves me some social satire and some true crime and some black comedies, so when I found out there's a new film by Richard Linklater about a likable guy from a small town in Texas who got involved with an older woman, then killed her and threw her body in the freezer while going months pretending that she was still alive, I was on that shit.I knew that it featured interviews with real people who knew the protagonists, and it was compared to the Erroll Morris documentary Tabloid, but even so, I underestimated how documentary-like it is, meaning primarily that it lacks a third act and dramatic resolution, so while it's very good and enjoyable and features good performances, one doesn't walk out of it with the sense of movie satisfaction one might from a fully-conceived fictional story.We hear about his skill in every aspect of the funeral business, making people at ceremonies feel cared for, redecorating the funeral parlor, and expertly selling more expensive caskets.
He is also known and loved by everyone in town and performs in plays and participates in many civic functions.
So eventually he meets Marjorie Nugent, played by Shirley Mac Laine. One resident casually remarks "There are people in town who would have shot her for five dollars" and another says "Her nose was so high she'd drown if it rained." Another says "She was not nice. She was just evil." The droll local manner of speaking is well-represented and one of the pleasures of the movie.
In here we find out that Bernie often visited widows after the funerals, and was generally attracted to elderly women.
There is also speculation that Bernie may be gay, which is definitely one way to view his character, but we don't get enough to know anything conclusive. Nugent's wall of hostility and she has grown attached to him.
Soon they are traveling together, and he is more and more involved with her.
Within two years she has fired all her servants and thus Bernie, by default, becomes her servant.