In Where’d You Go, Bernadette Director Richard Linklater takes his leading actress Cate Blanchett back to well-known “Blue Jasmine” tracks. Except that she’s a lot more fun in her role as the frustrated architect. We reveal why in our review.
Bernadette can finally hug her husband Elgie (Billy Crudup) and their daughter Bee again.
The plot summary
Bernadette Fox (Cate Blanchett) is different from the perfectly organized neighborhood moms. She is chaotic, eccentric, sensitive – and doesn’t sleep well. After years of caring for her family, Bernadette urgently needs some time for herself. The former star architect has turned her back on Los Angeles and followed her husband Elgie (Billy Crudup), a successful IT manager, to Seattle. The two of them live there with their 15-year-old daughter Bee (Emma Nelson) in an old villa surrounded by blackberry hedges that is far too big and in need of renovation. When Bernadette’s meticulous neighbor Audrey (Kristen Wiig) asks to remove the overgrown blackberry bushes on the property line, it sets in motion a chain of misadventures that ultimately turn Bernadette’s life upside down. And suddenly she disappeared. Elgie and Bee begin their search – and their journey ends in the middle of Antarctica with a surprising discovery…
Where’d You Go, Bernadette Movie Meaning & ending
Richard Linklater (“Boyhood”) has earned his recognition as a director particularly through the films in which it seems as if he is simply letting life happen on the big screen. In his three-part “Before” series, he follows Julie Delpy and Ethan Hawke aka Céline and Jesse three times for 24 hours and observes how their (love) story develops, somewhere between fascination, infatuation and realism. “Dazed and Confused” and “Everybody Wants Some!!” focus on the almost casually captured summer escapades of several high school graduates and later baseball students. And in “Boyhood,” Linklater chronicled the growth of a little boy in an extraordinary project that required several years of filming because he actually aged his actors; from elementary school to college age. And that’s not all: the filmmaker has already announced another project of this size, only this one will span even more years of storytelling. But Linklater has also tackled other projects apart from his slice-of-life films and positioned himself in completely opposite positions with stories such as the dystopian animated thriller “A Scanner Darkly” or the darkly humorous tragicomedy “Bernie”. His latest film “Where’d You Go, Bernadette” is probably the one that at least bears Linklater’s signature, especially since it is also based on an existing novel (“Where’d You Go, Bernadette” by Maria Semple). However, that doesn’t make the film and director any less exciting, but rather reveals another facet of Linklater: under his direction, Cate Blanchett becomes a better “Blue Jasmine” than under Woody Allen’s supervision.
Bernadette (Cate Blanchett) cannot find the right access to her environment. Only her daughter (Emma Nelson) understands her.
When the same actress plays the role of a woman on the verge of a nervous breakdown twice, it naturally makes sense to compare these two characters and thus the films with each other. Admittedly, as a drama about a depressed upper-class lady who has to completely rearrange her life after her husband’s arrest, “Blue Jasmine” has little in common with a film about an eccentric architect who creates a well-protected environment She can call her husband and daughter her own and happily offends colleagues and neighbors. But even though “Where’d You Go, Bernadette” has some outstandingly funny scenes to offer due to the sometimes decidedly diva-like attitude of its protagonists and is otherwise more in the tragicomedy genre than the exclusively grounded, dramatic “Blue Jasmine,” both films contain the same quintessence of fate A battered person who doesn’t seem to be able to get out of her (in both cases completely different) predicament on her own – and ultimately does. Linklater, who co-wrote the script together with Holly Gent (“Me & Orson Welles”) and Vincent Palmo Jr. (“Boyhood”) , peppers the way there with all sorts of bizarre situations that basically have their origins in Bernadette. A huge flood in her neighborhood happens because she previously quarreled with the responsible landscape gardener. A supposed e-mail friendship turns out to be an adventurous trap and the mothers of her daughter’s classmates regularly indulge in tirades of abuse towards her, which Bernadette of course knows how to respond appropriately.
Only a few people besides Cate Blanchett (“Carol”) would have been able to embody such a headstrong character like Bernadette without falling into unpleasant quirkiness . In “Where’d You Go, Bernadette,” the two-time Oscar winner is once again able to explore the full emotional range of a single, completely contradictory character and never loses sight of Bernadette’s human core – something she failed to do in “Blue Jasmine.” This is certainly explained by the fact that Linklater became aware of the novel on which the film is based because he found the mother-daughter relationship in it so meaningful and strong. Linklater opens his film as a classic family story and, apart from Bernadette’s sometimes very strenuous behavior, never leaves any doubt that her husband and daughter have long since come to terms with her. “Bernadette” is always a very warm and realistic film, despite the story that sometimes seems quite constructed and the absurdity that has been taken to the extreme several times; But this realism does not develop from the situations, but from the characters themselves. Especially when Linklater goes through the various stages of depressive moods, self-doubt and mania, the focus is entirely on “Where’d You Go, Bernadette” as a character drama in which it is completely irrelevant what absurd scenarios the Fox family has to deal with here.
Especially in the third act, “Where’d You Go, Bernadette” requires full concentration on the narrative core. Because when the eponymous main character sets off on a trip to the beautifully illustrated Antarctica (it was filmed on location in Greenland) from now on, it all goes a little too smoothly and chance helps – especially for the fulfillment of a surprisingly conventional happy ending a little too often. Here the tempo and tonality suddenly change completely; What had previously been a rather lively film, driven by Blanchett’s performance, suddenly becomes a calm, reflective examination of the consequences of her previous actions. That actually makes sense in the narrative context – after all, “Where’d You Go, Bernadette” is about a woman who, using extraordinary methods, finally manages to pull herself out of trouble and gain new self-confidence (in the truest sense of the word!). However, the fate of those around her, especially her family, takes a little back seat. That supporting characters such as hers are heavily influenced by Kristen Wiig (“Downsizing”) Played neighbor Audrey are just sidekicks that complement the scene, and that’s not a bad thing. But the fact that the (at least conciliatory) family idea seems a bit too forced compared to the previous, quite offensive hour, and that all the problems immediately disappear, doesn’t do the otherwise creative and whimsical filming full justice.
Conclusion: Cate Blanchett goes astray – in a kind of “comic ‘Blue Jasmine’”, director Richard Linklater tells the story of an equally eccentric and internally completely desperate mother and architect who only finds herself in Antarctica. Even though the ending is contrived, you just can’t get enough of Blanchett’s great performance.
“Where’d You Go, Bernadette” can be seen in selected USA cinemas from November 21st.