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I missed Where’d You Go Bernadette when it played at the theater. However, the preview I saw before another film stayed with me. I appreciate Cate Blanchett as an actress. And the story line intrigued me.
Last weekend I watched this enchanting film via Amazon Prime. Check out my review!
Where’d You Go Bernadette Cast
This comedy drama stars Cate Blanchett, Billy Crudup, Emma Nelson, Kristen Wiig and Laurence Fishburne. Richard Linklater directed Where’d You Go Bernadette and co-wrote the screenplay, based on the novel written by Maria Semple. The movie carries a PG-13 rating, for occasional strong language, and has a run time of 1 hour and 49 minutes.
Bernadette (Blanchett) is an involved, loving mother completely devoted to her daughter Bee (Nelson). After experiencing difficulty getting pregnant and then a premature birth, Bernadette abandons a promising career in architecture to focus on raising her daughter with husband Elgie (Crudup).
As Bee considers leaving her little family to attend prep school out east, Bernadette realizes how much she’s shunned society and how small her world has become. She’s disconnected from Elgie, who spends long hours working as a developer for Microsoft. And she’s at odds with her neighbor Audrey (Wiig) who views Bernadette as an eccentric.
Trip to Antarctica
Before Bee leaves for prep school, she convinces her parents to take her on a trip to Antarctica. Although she wants to please her daughter, Bernadette hates the idea of being around other people, especially on board a cruise ship. She turns over all travel arrangements to her virtual assistant, whom she frequently rants to, and ultimately considers staying home. The stress over the upcoming trip keeps her awake at night and on edge.
Meeting with her old college professor, Paul Jellenik (Fishburne), Bernadette pours out her feelings. Paul listens patiently and then suggests that perhaps Bernadette needs to get back to work, pursuing her passion by creating buildings. Because, it is obvious to Paul that Bernadette’s life has stalled out. The big rundown schoolhouse that Bernadette and Elgie bought, to transform into their dream home, sits partially finished. That house visually represents her life and career. They both held great promise and yet Bernadette placed them on hold.
Concerned about his wife’s erratic behavior, Elgie secretly meets with a therapist and plans an intervention for Bernadette. She slips away, literally running away from home. On a whim, she heads to Antarctica alone. Discovering her whereabouts, Elgie and Bee follow.
In the Antarctic, helping a scientist take water samples, Bernadette learns that the old research station is scheduled for demolition. Her creativity stirring, Bernadette offers to design the new structure. For the first time in a very long time, Bernadette feels excited about a creative idea. Gaining acceptance as the architect isn’t guaranteed and there is her family to consider, however, Bernadette pursues her desire.
As they track her down, Elgie realizes he’s less than supportive of Bernadette. And Bee reconsiders leaving for prep school. All three discover, in their own ways, that sometimes life needs to fall apart, before a better life can come together.
My Thoughts on Where’d You Go Bernadette
This film falls under the “quirky” category for me…and I love quirky! It is humorous. I enjoy seeing actors in different types of roles and Cate nails this performance. And yet, Where’d You Go Bernadette is so much more than a comedy.
The family dynamics seem so exemplary of many today. Distance exists between the couple. And one parent overly focuses on the child. Bernadette takes parenting to extremes, believing she must sacrifice everything else, as a show of gratitude for having a child at all.
In doing so, she completely loses the most important parts of herself. Bee’s impending departure for prep school and the discomfort of the trip to Antarctica become mirrors that show Bernadette just how much she’s disconnected, not from society and her spouse, but from herself.
And that’s the inspiring message in this film. Sacrificing yourself for your children is not as important as showing those kids how to truly live, fully and with passion. We all want our kids to live their best lives. We must model what that looks like.
Where’d you go Bernadette? Deeply inward to find yourself again. It’s a journey so worth taking.
Check out these other reviews of Cate Blanchett films:
You can find the movie and the novel by clicking on photos below:
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