Bernie Tiede (Jack Black) is the most beloved person in Carthage. He's a choir singer and funeral assistant who is as dedicated to his job as he is to consoling widows. When the much-older Marjorie Nugent (Shirley MacLaine) loses her husband, Bernie is there to comfort her.
The two very different characters are soon inseparable: Bernie is a kind, gentle soul, while Nugent suffocates him, keeping him on a tight leash with ludicrous demands, yet at the same time showering him with gifts.
One day, Bernie loses it and kills her. The rest of the film focuses on Bernie's attempts to cover up the murder, and district attorney Danny Buck Davidson's (Matthew McConaughey) efforts to bring him down.
Delving into small-town American consciousness, the film explores the way emotions can cloud judgment. Linklater intersperses talking head interviews of real town folks into the film, adding to that question.
Stepping out of his usual dopey roles, Black is brilliant in making us wonder if he is a good guy provoked to kill, or the bad guy gold-digger. Decide for yourself.
YP Rating: 4/5