Happy Thanksgiving Eve MMT Fam! I received a screener of Where’d You Go, Bernadette, which was released yesterday on Blu-ray and DVD by Twentieth Century Fox Home Entertainment. In the synopsis, the film is listed as a comedy about a devoted wife and mom who’s compelled to reconnect with her creative passions after years of sacrifice. A leap of faith, and an unexpected push by family, sends her on an adventure that re-ignites her passion and leads to her triumphant rediscovery.
Although billed as a comedy, I found the film more of a dramedy and character study highlighting how life circumstances can hinder dreams, resulting in persons becoming a shell of and isolating themselves from outsiders and often those who are closest. I didn’t laugh as much as I expected from the billing, but enjoyed the journey titular character Bernadette (Cate Blanchett) explored from film’s start to finish.
A phenom designer/architect by trade, Bernadette received great critical acclaim – until she suffers a series of losses that impact her socially and eventually pose serious issues in her marriage – enough for her husband Eligie (Billy Crudup) to question her sanity and if a more professional approach is needed to help.
What’s most disheartening in the story is her husband’s lack of empathy for her situation, in addition to (spoiler) the therapist he eventually hires – a woman who takes actions that are completely inappropriate to me as someone with a psychology/social work background.
However, a friend that read the novel clarified for me liberties taken in the screenplay adaptation, including an omission of the therapist’s initial hesitance to treat Bernadette – further explaining the moments that elicited a negative reaction from me, and that I wish had made it to the big screen.
But there are moments of empathy and support that stand out – primarily from her teenage daughter Bee (Emma Nelson), her neighbor/nemesis Audrey (Kristen Wiig) and former professor/colleague Paul (Laurence Fishburne) who is the first character to zero in on what’s missing in Bernadette’s life – and act counter to what I perceived as inappropriate slights by Elgie.
And although there are aspects of the story that my working middle class self can’t relate – i.e. the upper class privileges of Bernadette’s family and neighbors and her not having a complete meltdown (slight spoiler) at the prospect of someone hacking her bank account – what is relatable is Bernadette’s need to create, share her gifts, be heard and be truly seen.
A slow burn that is more drama than comedy, “Where’d You Go, Bernadette” is not an all-out, belly-holding farce but is a partially sympathetic view of a woman rediscovering and reclaiming her purpose in life. Even with great performances, however, the film lulls at points and falls a bit short with its satire. I rate it 2.5 out of 5 on the MMTrometer.
Until next thought, Thomasena
BRING HOME WHERE’D YOU GO, BERNADETTE ON DIGITAL NOVEMBER 19 AND BLU-RAY™ & DVD ON NOVEMBER 26
Based on the runaway bestseller by Maria Semple, WHERE’D YOU GO, BERNADETTE is an inspiring comedy about Bernadette Fox (Academy Award® Winner Cate Blanchett), a loving wife and mom who becomes compelled to reconnect with her creative passions after years of sacrificing herself for her family. Bernadette’s leap of faith takes heron an epic adventure that jump-starts her life and leads to her triumphant rediscovery.
WHERE’D YOU GO, BERNADETTE Blu-ray™, DVD & Digital Special Features
●Bringing Bernadette to Life
●Who Is Bernadette?
Rating: PG-13 for some strong language and drug material
Starring: Cate Blanchett, Billy Crudup, Kristen Wiig, Emma Nelson, James Urbaniak, Judy Greer, Troian Bellisario, Zoe Chao and Laurence Fishburne
Directed By: Richard Linklater
Produced By: Nina Jacobson, Brad Simpson, Ginger Sledge
Executive Produced By: Megan Ellison, Jillian Longnecker