Based on the runaway bestseller, Where’d You Go, Bernadette is an inspiring comedy about Bernadette Fox (Academy Award winner Cate Blanchett), a loving mom who becomes compelled to reconnect with her creative passions after years of sacrificing herself for her family. Bernadette’s leap of faith takes her on an epic adventure that jump-starts her life and leads to her triumphant rediscovery.
Here is my review of the Where’d You Go, Bernadette.
Director Richard Linklater continues to dive into new worlds with each project he tackles. This latest film is unique in the sense that its uplifting life affirming film that doesn’t shy away from that mentality. And once again Linklater proves he can handle any project with a real gusto and sense of humor.
What shines brightest is a tremendous cast. Cate Blanchett of course is just quirky enough to straddle the line of being maniac. She obviously is playing a character who’s reacting to a trauma that forever altered her track in life. Linklater does a great job of slowly revealing that emotional turmoil while also amplifying the urgency of Billy Crudup’s (doting husband) character to put on an intervention. This tricky shaming mechanism unleashes author Maria Semple’s adventurous journey of Bernadette. But it’s the cast of fun cameos along the way that keeps the film pacing speedy and enjoyable. Laurence Fishburne stands out from the fun group of former colleagues and admirers of Bernadette’s creative architecture feats. Kristen Wiig has a wonderful arch change as the hated neighbor turned unusual ally. But in the end the best talent is young Emma Nelson playing Bernadette’s bright and feisty daughter Bee. The interactions between Blanchette and Nelson are magical and easily carry the story to it’s heartwarming crescendo. Linklater has always had that ability to capture the best out of young actors and Emma is a perfect example. Blanchette’s encounters with slightly bold young women is a really powerful bonus to the film. Whether it’s her ability to change Wiig’s character, always be there for her daughter bee or to befriend and impact Troian Bellsario’s marine biologist Becky.
The usual folks behind Linklater are his longtime editor Sandra Adair who understands the subtle nature of lingering to long. She edits with a real passion on all his projects and captures just the perfect emotion Linklater and the actors were trying to convey. The pacing of the film is a real treat. Hearing it’s 2 hours and 10 minutes can cause a bit of trepidation but it feels so much shorter. The smooth nature of the scenes flow nicely and there isn’t a lagging moment in the film. A talented Director/Editor combo really showcasing they understand how to get in and out of the moments. Add in an upbeat fun score by Graham Reynolds and this film just doesn’t ever lay off the enjoyable elements.
There is a reason why this is a summer release and not a fall awards contender. There isn’t a huge punch to the gut moment or a truly harsh dramatic twist. Instead you have a feel good movie through and through. It’s worth your attention without being necessarily must see. Another quality film that hopefully will outlast some of the usual trash we live through summer to summer.
For More information – Where’d You Go, Bernadette.
Directed by Richard Linklater
Written by Richard Linklater, Holly Gent and Vincent Palmo Jr. (screenplay) based on Maria Semple’s Book.
Selig Rating B+
Running Time 2hr 10min
Comedy, Drama, Mystery
Wide Release August 16th
Starring: Cate Blanchett, Billy Crudup, Kristen Wiig, Emma Nelson, James Urbaniak, Judy Greer, Troian Bellisario, Zoe Chao and Laurence Fishburne
The Selig Rating Scale:
A – Excellent movie, well worth the price.
B – Good movie
C – OK movie
D – No need to rush. Save it for a rainy day.
F – Good that I saw it on the big screen but wish I hadn’t paid for it.