In a way, this is a movie about searching: Mud is searching for his girl, Juniper, and an escape route. Ellis is searching for a model of a functional relationship that the troubled twosome can never live up to. Ellis's real father is searching for a way to connect with his son. It's also a meditation on fatherhood and how hard it can be for dads and sons to communicate.
Sometimes a story comes along that any self-respecting studio exec would throw out for being ridiculous, far-fetched, too unlikely to be believed. Except when it happens to be true. 'Bernie' is such a story, a tale so thought-provoking, bizarre and completely entertaining that the combined star wattage of Jack Black, Matthew McConaughey and Shirley MacLaine cannot outshine it.