In this black comedy inspired by a true story, affable Texas mortician Bernie befriends the small town's wealthiest widow and then kills her. But despite the suspicious nature of her death, no one wants to think anything but the best of Bernie.
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- Richard Linklater
Common Sense Note
Parents need to know that Bernie is an eccentric, entertaining, and sometimes disturbing dark comedy based on the real-life murder of wealthy Texas widow Marjorie Nugent (Shirley MacLaine). Jack Black stars, but this isn't one of his mainstream comedies; Bernie's story is told with a mix of seriousness and levity, a tone that may be hard for tweens and under to process, given that it all actually happened. There's a bit of swearing (including very infrequent uses of words like "s--t" and "f--k") and scenes of cruelty (emotional, with one character needling and bullying another).
- Sexual Content
- Innuendoes abound, but no there's no action.
- The movie revolves around a murder. Guns are fired, and a woman is shot from behind with a rifle (it's shocking rather than grisly). Earlier, she's shown berating, insulting, and generally emotionally abusing those around her. Since Bernie is a funeral director, there are some scenes where he's shown working on a corpse.
- Language includes infrequent uses of everying from "f--k" and "s--t" (used about once each) to "ass," "hell" and "goddamn."
- Social Behavior
- Bernie is about a man who kills an elderly woman and stuffs her in a freezer and yet is still beloved by many in his hometown -- an iffy message at best. It's possible to draw the conclusion that it pays to be kind and neighborly so that you'll have others' support when you make mistakes. But Bernie still has to take responsibility for his crime.
- One character has lots of money, and she uses it to buy cars and clothes and go on vacations. There's some talk of how she may have felt entitled to be nasty because of the distance money afforded her.
- Drugs / Tobacco / Alcohol
- Some social drinking.
- Age appropriate
- Not an issue
- Depends on your kid and your family
- Not appropriate for kids of the age most likely to want to see it