Focal Point – Barton Fink (1991)
Barton Fink was written, directed, and produced by the Coen brothers. Set in 1941, the film has John Turturro playing the lead role of a young New York City playwright who has been hired to write scripts for a movie studio in Hollywood. There is also John Goodman as Charlie, who plays the insurance salesman who lives next door at the Hotel Earle.
The Coen brothers, we soon realized have a penchant for springing surprise after surprise on us with their fantastic screenplays. Joel David Coen and Ethan Jesse Coen, later went on to give us other gems as Fargo, O Brother Where Art Thou, The Man Who Wasn’t There and No Country for Old Men. Barton Fink was a huge critical success. Rotten Tomatoes gives it a 91% favorable rating on its “Tomatometer”, while Metacritic lists a 69% favorable rating.
The film premiered in May 1991 at the Cannes Film Festival and won three awards, those of Best Director, Best Actor, and the coveted Palme d’Or. It should be remembered that Cannes decided after the 1991 festival to give a maximum of two awards to a movie. Barton Fink also had three nominations at the Academy Awards: Best Actor in a Supporting Role (Lerner), Best Art Direction, and Best Costume Design.
Tags: Barton Fink, Coen Brothers, John Goodman, John Turturro