‘Where’d You Go, Bernadette’: A woman’s adventure to rediscover her true calling
‘Where’d You Go, Bernadette’ tells the story of one woman’s adventure that she didn’t even realize she wanted to go on.
I will admit, when I first saw the trailer I groaned a bit. I assumed it was another story about a bored housewife who does an extravagant thing to try and find meaning in life. While that is part of the premise, it’s not the full idea and after seeing the movie I’ll say Richard Linklater and Cate Blanchett proved me wrong.
The film stars Blanchett as the titular character, Bernadette Fox. She’s a housewife who seems a little of the rails. She doesn’t get along with her neighbors or any of her peers and her only true friend seems to be an Alexa-esque online virtual assistant and her daughter, Bee. She gets along with her husband, Elgie a tech company owner played by Billy Crudup, but still keeps him at a distance.
Bee is ready to head off to boarding school and wants to go on a family trip to cruise around Antarctica. Her parents, both not willing to be the bad guy, agree.
The first half of the movie is Bernadette anxiously preparing for her trip. She stresses about some things that would be considered normal, and some that aren’t. She’s nervous about what to pack, but also doesn’t want to have to spend so much time with strangers in a boat.
Throughout the film there aree hints as to why Bernadette is the way she is. We see times of her previous architecture career and how she was once on the road to being one of the best female architects in the world. Still, it takes a while to find out what went wrong and why she spends her time holed up in her very old home.
This was probably one of my favorite forms of storytelling in the film. Throughout the film we see a documentary style video telling Bernadette’s life and that allows us to keep learning more about her throughout the film. It truly kept me wanting for more and breaks up the story line between learning about her past life, and seeing how she lives in the present.
Once the time comes close to heading to Antarctica, Bernadette has hit a rough patch. Her escalation with her neighbors and peers has gotten worst, and her husband loves her but also demands that she get help. At this point, we see her adventure begin.
I’m not going to give away what happens, but eventually we see Bernadette head to Antarctica alone, possibly with the intention of eventually meeting up with her family. Her time there alone proves necessary and she meets people along the way that help her rediscover her artistic abilities, and she realizes that outlet is critical for her as a person.
I liked this film because I felt it was completely relatable, but in a comical way. It shows what could happen to anyone when you close off a critical part of yourself, especially when it comes to creativity. While Bernadette does do some extreme things in the film, I felt myself somewhat understanding where she came from.
I did have two slight problems with the movie. The first is the setting. The movie is set in Seattle and we constantly see DOWNPOURS of rain. Now, there is a slight chance the movie was filmed here the few days out of year it actually rains heavily. I did check, and some parts were filmed here, but in reality it doesn’t rain like that. I know that’s a minor detail but it’s a detail.
The end was also a little abrupt. I wasn’t expecting it to end as quickly as it did and I was expecting their might be a little more story line. At the same time, I’m happy with how it ended. I realized that I thought there would be more, but was content with the outcome.
In the end, ‘Where’d you go, Bernadette’ takes you on an unexpected adventure with a character that you see develop throughout the film. It teaches a lesson about being true to yourself, and doing what you need to do for you, even in the face of hardships. Cate Blanchett shines in the role and makes it even more enjoyable. I give it 3/4 stars.