Bernard and Doris (3 stars)

Bernard and Doris

(15) 103min

During the DVD extra in which director Bob Balaban discusses the vastly wealthy life of socialite heiress Doris Duke, he reveals that she was investigated for a fatal accident on her property and had a couple of camels living at her place. But clearly Balaban felt that neither of these true events fitted into his fictional vision over what may or may not have occurred between Duke (whom he describes as ‘both Clark Gable and Marilyn Monroe’) and her gay alcoholic butler Bernard Lafferty, whose journey takes him from repressed Ulsterman to flamboyant Priscilla.

Susan Sarandon and Ralph Fiennes are predictably excellent in the lead roles as we are presented with a woman who could be hateful, but had forthrightness and just enough compassion in her soul to keep us from switching off. Ultimately, this is a slow-burning tale, which veers just the right side of a sentimental afternoon movie on Five.

Bernard and Doris trailer

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