I’m not at all familiar with the book this film is adapted from so I can’t speak as to how faithful it is. Truth be told I’m simply not a big reader. Approaching Where’d You Go Bernadette? just as a film, I have to say that I had a really good time. I wasn’t quite sure what to expect since the trailers are kind of vague. I knew the basic premise but didn’t know where they’d take things. While this film certainly isn’t groundbreaking or anything, I had a nice time at the cinema and that’s what counts.
Cate Blanchett is what originally piqued my interest in this, I’m a huge fan. She’s given so many truly unforgettable performances (Blue Jasmine being one of my all time favorites) that now when I see she’s in something, chances are I’m seeing it. Blanchett doesn’t disappoint here, she’s brilliant in the role of Bernadette. First of all, Bernadette is a truly intriguing character, she’s an artist that’s basically given up on her work. She’s a very eclectic private person and is really struggling because she’s not creating. I’m sure as an actor it’s a great gift to be playing a role such as this, and when you’re an actor as good as Blanchett, one that really takes her work seriously, I can’t imagine the thrill. I could tell she was having a good time in this film, that much was clear to me. I completely fell in love with Bernadette Fox because of how lovingly she’s played by Blanchett.
Emma Nelson plays Bernadette’s daughter Bee and I have to say I was very impressed by her acting abilities. Not only is Nelson good as a stand alone but the chemistry between her and Blanchett is palpable. They share such a natural seeming mother-daughter relationship, one that’s a bit unusual because of how positive and fun it is. I’m pretty used to seeing parent-child relationships be the typical turmoil of the teenage years, they’re usually at odds with one another. I really loved seeing a mother’s relationship with her teenage daughter that’s so full of joy and fun, more like best friends to be honest. The whole theme of Bernadette as a character and really this entire film is “unconventional” and that’s where this unusual relationship fits in wonderfully. Billy Crudup and Kristen Wiig are both really good here, Crudup fits his role of concerned husband very well and Wiig has some really effective moments as the neighbor who’s at odds with Bernadette.
There’s a certain appeal to this film that comes from both the unconventional theme and the endearing story. We have these wonderful characters and a story that’s uplifting but doesn’t feel like Hallmark Channel uplifting (no offense to any Hallmark Channel fans….). I don’t really know why the critics are being so hard on this, I never felt bored or displaced. I found the story to be really engaging and the cast pours their hearts into every scene. While it’s probably not going to appeal to everyone, I definitely suggest this film as a feel good experience because that’s ultimately what it is. It’s a dramedy that focuses on characters and their relationships and because of that, it’s satisfying.
Where’s You Go Bernadette? is a very enjoyable film due to the cast, the intriguing main character, and the endearing storyline. This is yet another reason for me to love Cate Blanchett, she just steals the show!