Where’d You Go, Bernadette (2019)

DailyView: Day 209, Movie 295

Heading over to Hulu for the DailyView this evening, I came across a movie from 2019 that I did not go to see in the theater. I remember when Where’d You Go, Bernadette was in the theaters. It was a movie that I was always considering going to see, but it was one of those films that was getting pushed aside for other new releases or never worked in the schedule.

Cate Blanchett is one of the great actresses of our time and she is front and center with the character of Bernadette Fox, an artistic architect who moved with her family to Seattle after a major career tragedy which sent her over the edge.

Bernadette had a remarkable relationship with her daughter, Bee (Emma Nelson), despite struggling with her relationship with any other human beings. This was also causing issues with her husband, Elgie (Billy Crudup), who had buried himself deeply in his work.

Her escalating negative behaviors began to worry Elgie and a promised family vacation to Antarctica elevated those behaviors even more.

The performances in Where’ You Go, Bernadette were very solid. Of course, Cate Blanchett is always exquisite and she amplifies any material she is given. The young Emma Nelson was very good as well, not losing step opposite her famous co-star. Bill Crudup does well too, though he may be a bit of a step down. The feuding neighbor Audrey was played by Kristin Wiig, but there is not enough with her. She seemed to play a big role in the first part of the film, but nothing in the second part.

This is a bit of the trouble with the movie. It felt like several different themes and tones floating around the story, and the characters were not completely consistent. At times the film did not seem to know what it wanted to be. It also seemed to diminish mental illness, which was used to explain some of Bernadette’s behaviors.

This film is an adaptation of a novel by Maria Semple, which I have not read, so much of the criticism about how it does not adapt the book well is foreign to me. Director Richard Linklater shoots some solid work, especially the scenes in Antarctica.

I enjoyed this movie despite its flaws, mainly because I enjoyed the characters and the performances. It may not be the best film around, but it was a decent watch.

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