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Stellar casting makes 'Where'd You Go, Bernadette' pack a big punch

At times Richard Linklater's film is a bit too whimsical, but a talented cast, beautiful cinematography and brilliant scoring make up for it.

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  • | 11:04 a.m. August 19, 2019
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"Where'd You Go, Bernadette" is a film about people re-evaluating their lives. And, in that St. Bernadette is the patron saint of sick persons, we get a sense of where this story may be headed.

Bernadette (Cate Blanchett) is a once-renowned architect who sacrificed that standing when she became a wife and mother 20 years ago. At this juncture in her life, it does not seem to have been the best move. She has become an angry recluse who is in the midst of a full-blown meltdown.


Workaholic husband Elgie (Billy Crudup) and 14-year-old super savvy daughter Bee (Emma Nelson) are in favor of therapy for Bernadette, but she adamantly refuses it. To add to the confusion, her virtual assistant is actually a group of Russian hackers that prompts a visit from the FBI. Bernadette freaks out and skips town, vanishing without a trace. 

Bee's certain that her mother has gone to Antarctica where they had planned to vacation as a family. She manages to convince her father to accompany her on a wild goose chase in search of Bernadette. Clues lead the pair to her whereabouts and, surprise, she's found a new purpose in life. And all's well that ends well.

Courtesy photo
Courtesy photo

Richard Linklater ("Boyhood") co-scripts and directs "Where'd You Go, Bernadette," based on the New York Times best-selling novel by Maria Semple. At times, his narrative comes across a bit too whimsical for such a serious subject matter. But his uncanny knack for brilliant casting saves the day. 

Cate Blanchett, as always, delivers a magnificent performance, this one reminiscent of her work in "Blue Jasmine." It's quirky, kinetic and sublime, especially when she engages in tirades with her snooty neighbor (Kristen Wiig). It's difficult to take your eyes off her.

Stunning cinematography and harmonious scoring also play a huge role in making "Where'd You Go, Bernadette" a film well worth catching. And as for that tidy little ending, well, it packs a big punch.  


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