On December 17, the effortlessly morose Paul Giamatti stars as the effortlessly morose fictional character Barney Panofsky. The creation of celebrated Canadian author Mordecai Richler, Panofsky is the politically incorrect central character that suffers from Alzheimer’s in Richler’s comic and touching novel "Barney’s Version" (1997).
Though Richler died in 2001 and was not part of the screenwriting process, the film version, says the Wall Street Journal, retains much of its mordant wit. "A Serious Man" is what the Journal compared it to. But in a preview, the paper offered something even better: a brief interview with Giamatti, who contrasted being a Jew with being a real-life Italian.
Giamatti said this: "The Italians try to hide their neuroses and I don’t know that the Jews try to. The Italians try to do the whole phony life-is-good thing.”
Apparently Giamatti has not been a bar mitzhah. In any event, we forgive, if not always forget.