Movie Reviews

HBO's Barry: One Quote From Each Main Character That Sums Up Their Personality

After a long wait, Barry season 3 just released on HBO. Though the award-winning Bill Hader comedy is primarily a series about a hitman who tries to juggle contract killing with his acting career, it’s also about people. The hit show, created and written by Hader and Alec Berg, offers rich character studies and themes about interpersonal relationships amidst a backdrop of mob violence and the cutthroat film industry.

RELATED: Which Barry Character Are You Based On Your Zodiac Sign?

As Barry, Hader plays a man yearning for a different life while unable to break free from the one he knows, and every character is written using the same care and attention to detail, from the adorable Chechen mobster NoHo Hank who just wants to be respected, to acting coach Gene Cousineau who finds the role of a lifetime in being a father figure. Even with so much compelling dialogue, there are certain quotes that sum up each character’s personality and personal journey.

After his wartime experiences in Afghanistan, Barry didn’t feel like he deserved a good life, but at least becoming a hitman offered him a purpose. If he only killed people who deserved it, he thought he could preserve a part of him that was good. Eventually, however, his morals became compromised, and he realized the ultimate futility of trying to do the right thing.

Ironically, to be a better actor, he has to be more truthful about himself, but this soul-searching threatens his ability as a stone-cold killer. This quote highlights Barry’s hope for reinventing himself as a better person while belying an inner turmoil filled with guilt and regret at having to conceal his true nature.

When Barry first meets acting coach Gene Cousineau, he finds him to be an inspirational and paternal figure, but to most of his students and his son, Mr. Cousineau is a self-centered and selfish person who has often put his desire to get a pop from the audience over the needs of his family.

When Barry admits to killing the wrong target in Afghanistan, an incident that snowballed his career as a contract killer, Mr. Cousineau rallies him with a speech about people being able to change their natures. This Barry quote solidifies that beneath the veneer of narcissism, Mr. Cousineau really is a decent person with a lot to give others.

Even as a Chechen crime boss, NoHo Hank manages to inspire the best in others with a perpetual smile on his face. This sociopath with the sunshine disposition doesn’t let the volatile nature of his chosen vocation dampen his spirits, not even when his men are handcuffed inside a school bus and being doused with gasoline.

NoHo Hank’s quotes prove he’s a good guy, but this one from Barry season 2 not only reflects his “optimism,” but it also highlights the humor inherent to Hank’s way of speaking. Whether he’s misusing common words or quotes from his favorite movies and books, Hank’s interpretation often makes them much better.

For Sally Reed, she’s put all her career eggs into the acting basket, and her entire identity is inextricable from being an actress. Unfortunately, it doesn’t matter how much she rehearses her lines; her goal of getting noticed in the industry is sidelined by sexism, chauvinism, and occasionally, her own insecurities.

RELATED: Once Upon A Time In Hollywood & 9 Other Great Movies About The Film Industry

Thanks to Mr. Cousineau’s teachings Sally feels she needs to be honest in order to be a great actress, when she really ought to take a page out of Monroe Fuches’ acting book, as he knows that audiences don’t want honesty — they want entertainment. For Sally to get ahead, she’ll have to reconcile her desire to be authentic with the industry’s demand that she commercially package herself into someone else.

Barry’s mentor, Monroe Fuches, is a shadowy figure. His past has turned him into a man who will do whatever it takes to survive, a cockroach-ian sensibility he’s tried to instill in his protégé. Together, Fuches and Barry are a fairly unstoppable team, despite the former unsuccessfully attempting to end their partnership in one of Barry‘s best running gags.

This quote reveals just how little loyalty means to someone like Fuches; he expects it unconditionally from Barry, but will turn on him if it means saving himself. It also exposes Fuches as a sociopath, perfectly willing to mold a young man into a killing machine without giving him the skills to survive in everyday civilian society.

As one of the most intelligent characters in Barry, Janice Moss was the only person who was onto Barry Berkman from the beginning. But whenever she would get close to exposing him, a clue pointing to the Chechens would derail her. Investigating Gene Cousineau’s acting class exposed more of her personality, and some of her best moments arose from her interactions with the charming acting coach.

Only Janice could make this quote seem in any way appealing, turning an exposition about graphic violence into pillow talk. She was a tough, multi-faceted woman who wasn’t afraid of coming off too strongly.

Against Fuches’ express wishes, Taylor is a wild card that Barry uses to attack the Bolivians for the Chechen mob, aware that he could bungle the whole thing with his proactive aggression. Aside from being a complete hothead, Taylor actually leaves Barry voicemails about murdering people.

RELATED: 5 Ways Barry Is The Best Character On Barry (& 4 Alternatives)

Entering the series like a budget Frank Castle, Taylor is a mercenary for hire who represents, in many ways, Barry’s complete id. Taylor’s only motivations in life are to eat, sleep, watch porn, and kill people, unfettered and uncomplicated by the nuances of life. This quote perfectly encapsulates his joy at being a rampaging murderer.

Despite his best attempts, Barry can’t keep his old friend from discovering the sort of wet work he does and wanting in on his next job. Barry’s worst fears are confirmed when the job is bungled, and Chris blabs to his wife about what’s happened, forcing Barry to do one of the most shameless things he’s ever had to do.

Chris never saw combat like Barry, and indicates his innocence with this quote, which highlights the fact that he has a more human and naturally conflicted response to the horrific violence Barry is surrounded by. With a loving family to go home to, Chris represents the life that Barry wants for himself, but can’t have, because as Chris’s involvement proves, the two worlds can only collide in disastrous ways.

Despite Fuches trying to manipulate Goran into killing Cristobal Sifuentes and his men, when the Bolivian crime boss arrives he is, to use NoHo Hank’s vernacular, “a really nice guy.” Unfortunately, Barry and his team are already engaged in an operation to take Cristobal out, just when the Chechens and Bolivians might have been able to come to some sort of understanding.

This quote showcases how likable a character Cristobal is, a well-read gangster who name drops philosophical authors like Thomas Freedman just before Barry and his team show up to put the kibosh on his conciliatory gestures.

Barry’s acting class is full of stereotypes of showbiz hopefuls, one of whom is Sasha Smith, an Englishwoman who really goes above and beyond to dissect a scene and discover her motivation.

During one class exercise, she asks a fellow classmate what their emotional connection is to soup, suggesting that it might be related to their relationship with their mother. Reading so much into a mundane action like eating soup is part of the fun of Sasha’s character, who often has to over-explain her own motivations when performing scenes for the class out of a fear that no one else will “get it.”

NEXT: 10 Behind-The-Scenes Facts You Didn’t Know About Barry

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.

Back to top button