Barton Fink

Watch Barton Fink

"What's in his head"
  • R
  • 1991
  • 1 hr 56 min
  • 7.6  (127,763)
  • 69

Barton Fink is a psychological thriller film directed by the Coen brothers, Joel and Ethan, and released in 1991. The movie stars John Turturro as the titular character, Barton Fink, a New York playwright who moves to Hollywood to write for the film industry. The movie also stars John Goodman as Charlie Meadows, Barton's friendly neighbor, and Judy Davis as Audrey Taylor, an assistant to the head of the movie studio.

The movie is set in the 1940s and begins with Barton Fink winning a prestigious playwriting award for his successful Broadway debut. He is soon approached by Hollywood studio executive Jack Lipnick, who offers him a lucrative contract to write for the movies, promising that he will be able to write "the common man" in the same way he writes the "intellectual". Barton, who considers himself a socialist writer, sees it as an opportunity to write a script that will lift the spirits of the working class, and accepts the offer.

Barton is put up in a dingy hotel, the Hotel Earle, where he is unable to write anything substantial. As he struggles to come up with ideas for his screenplay, he befriends his neighbor Charlie Meadows, a salesman with a cheerful disposition. Barton finds himself drawn to Charlie's friendly nature and unwittingly starts confiding in him about his frustrations and insecurities.

Throughout the movie, strange and unsettling events unravel, leaving the viewer questioning the reality of what is happening to Barton. He meets a writer, W.P. Mayhew, who hires Barton to write his screenplay, only to end up being drunk and helpless most of the time. Barton also has a run-in with a detective who is investigating a grisly murder case, which leaves the audience wondering if Barton himself is involved.

As Barton's mental and emotional state deteriorates, the viewer is taken on a surreal journey with him. The movie explores themes of creative frustration, artistic integrity, and the uncertainty of reality. The Hotel Earle, in particular, becomes an increasingly ominous presence in the movie, with its narrow hallways, chipped paint and shadows that seem to hold dark secrets.

John Turturro portrays Barton Fink brilliantly, capturing his insecurity, pomposity, and vulnerability perfectly. John Goodman is equally impressive as the affable Charlie Meadows, and Judy Davis's portrayal of Audrey Taylor adds an extra layer of complexity to the movie.

The Coen brothers have woven a story that keeps the viewer guessing until the end. The movie's unsettling tone and surrealist elements contribute to its overall impact. The movie also features well-crafted cinematography and a haunting score that adds to the movie's overall mood.

In conclusion, Barton Fink is a thought-provoking psychological thriller that explores the themes of artistic integrity, creative frustration, and the loss of reality. The movie features strong performances from its lead actors and superb direction by the Coen brothers. The Hotel Earle and its dark secrets serve as a disturbing backdrop to Barton's deteriorating mental state, making for an engrossing and unsettling movie experience that has stood the test of time.

Barton Fink is a 1991 comedy with a runtime of 1 hour and 56 minutes. It has received mostly positive reviews from critics and viewers, who have given it an IMDb score of 7.6 and a MetaScore of 69.

Barton Fink
Where to Watch Barton Fink
Barton Fink is available to watch, stream, download and buy on demand at Apple TV, Amazon, Google Play, YouTube VOD and Vudu. Some platforms allow you to rent Barton Fink for a limited time or purchase the movie and download it to your device.
  • Release Date
  • MPAA Rating
  • Runtime
    1 hr 56 min
  • Language
  • IMDB Rating
    7.6  (127,763)
  • Metascore