Watch Bartleby

"I would prefer not to."
  • PG-13
  • 2002
  • 1 hr 23 min
  • 6.4  (2,160)
  • 48

Bartleby is a dark comedy-drama film that follows the life of a successful lawyer, played by David Paymer, who hires a strange and mysterious man named Bartleby, played by Crispin Glover, to work at his law office. The film is based on a short story by Herman Melville, and it explores themes of isolation, loneliness, and the human condition.

The film begins with Paymer's character, who is never named, hiring Bartleby as a copy clerk. Bartleby is a quiet and reserved man who does his job with precision and efficiency, but he refuses to do anything other than copy documents. When asked to do something outside of his job description, he replies with his catchphrase, "I would prefer not to."

As the story progresses, it becomes clear that Bartleby is not just an eccentric copy clerk but a troubled and deeply disturbed individual. He begins to stop working, refusing to copy anything, and instead spends his time staring out the window or lying down on the floor. The lawyer tries to fire Bartleby, but he refuses to leave the office, setting up a confrontation between the two men.

Throughout the film, we see the lawyer's life unravel as he becomes increasingly obsessed with Bartleby and his strange behavior. He goes to great lengths to understand the man's motivations, but he is only met with frustration and confusion.

The film takes a surreal turn in the third act, as Bartleby's strange behavior becomes more extreme. He starts to live in the office, refusing to leave or eat, and the other employees begin to refer to him as "the ghost." The lawyer becomes increasingly disturbed by Bartleby's behavior and eventually enlists the help of a homeless shelter to try and get him to leave the office.

Bartleby is a thought-provoking film that explores the complexities of human behavior and the struggle to understand the motivations of others. Glover's performance as the enigmatic Bartleby is captivating, and Paymer's portrayal of the lawyer is nuanced and compelling. The film is shot in a dark, moody style that reflects the bleakness of the story and the characters' emotional turmoil.

Overall, Bartleby is a compelling and memorable film that will leave audiences thinking long after the credits roll. It is a masterful exploration of the human condition and the complex nature of our interactions with others.

Bartleby is a 2002 comedy with a runtime of 1 hour and 23 minutes. It has received mostly poor reviews from critics and viewers, who have given it an IMDb score of 6.4 and a MetaScore of 48.

Where to Watch Bartleby
Bartleby is available to watch free on Tubi TV, Vudu Free and Kanopy. It's also available to stream, download and buy on demand at Amazon Prime, The Roku Channel, Apple TV, Amazon and Vudu. Some platforms allow you to rent Bartleby for a limited time or purchase the movie and download it to your device.
  • Release Date
  • MPAA Rating
  • Runtime
    1 hr 23 min
  • Language
  • IMDB Rating
    6.4  (2,160)
  • Metascore