Sympathetic look loosely based on the relationship between tobacco heiress, Doris Duke (1912-1993) - think Duke University - and her shy butler, Bernard Lafferty. The icy and mercurial Duke fires her butler for serving a chilled cantaloupe; the agency sends Lafferty, formerly household staff to Liz Taylor and to Peggy Lee. He's an alcoholic, fresh out of rehab. He gradually becomes Duke's gay alter ego as she romps through life sleeping with young men, making shrewd decisions quickly, managing her fortune and orchids as Lafferty manages her New Jersey estate. With a wine cellar to die for, Bernard falls off the wagon. Can he pull himself together when Doris needs him?Written by
After being shown at a film festival, "Bernard and Doris" was sent directly to cable television rather than premiering in movie theatres. See more »
"She said it was important. 'Perhaps I will get the feeling back ..." It's the same body of a newspaper article for two different articles. Around 23 minutes into movie. One article had headline of Doris Duke attending opening with Leonard Bernstein. The second headline was her buying a Boeing 737 for $25 million. See more »
Forgettable if without Susan Sarandon's performance
This film is about the mysterious relationship between a wealthy woman, Doris Duke, and her butler.
"Bernard and Doris" is a film that is hard to put a finger on. On one hand, it portrays the mysterious relationship between Bernard and Doris beautifully. What they have is more then just employer and servant, but more like a friend, and even more than just friends. On the other hand, I find a lack of emotional engagement between the story and the viewers. The film and the characters do not make me care about them. Fortunately, Susan Sarandon is amazing as she showcases her acting talent. She is stylishly arrogant at first, assertive but approachable in the middle and frail at the end. "Bernard and Doris" is worth watching just for Susan Sarandon's performance alone. The film would have become quite forgettable without her.
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