Where'd You Go, Bernadette (film)
|Where'd You Go, Bernadette|
|Directed by||Richard Linklater|
|Based on||Where'd You Go, Bernadette|
by Maria Semple
|Cinematography||Shane F. Kelly|
|Edited by||Sandra Adair|
|Distributed by||United Artists Releasing|
|Box office||$10.4 million|
Where'd You Go, Bernadette is a 2019 American comedy-drama film directed by Richard Linklater from a screenplay by Linklater, Holly Gent, and Vince Palmo, based on the novel of the same name by Maria Semple. It stars Cate Blanchett, Billy Crudup, Kristen Wiig, Judy Greer, and Laurence Fishburne.
Architect-turned-recluse Bernadette Fox (Cate Blanchett) is settled down with her husband Elgie (Billy Crudup) and their 15-year-old daughter Balakrishna "Bee" (Emma Nelson) in a dilapidated former schoolhouse in Seattle. Bernadette seldom leaves the house or interacts with others, having become agoraphobic. She does not get along with the other parents at Bee's school, including their neighbor Audrey Griffin (Kristen Wiig). Despite her misanthropic behavior, Bernadette is exceptionally close to Bee.
Bee requests a family trip to Antarctica as a reward for having received good grades, which Bernadette reluctantly agrees to. Shortly afterwards, Bernadette starts to behave oddly, concerning everyone. She uses a cocktail of prescription drugs to control her anxiety and insomnia, which grows worse as the Antarctica trip nears. Her feud with Audrey grows more intense; at one point Audrey accuses Bernadette of running over her foot while speeding away in her car. Later on, the hillside above Audrey's home, which Bernadette had cleared of invasive blackberries, subsides into Audrey's garden and house during heavy rain. Although she insists that she was only complying with Audrey's request, Elgie accuses Bernadette of knowing that the hill would collapse without the blackberries to hold it in place.
Bernadette has a personal assistant named Manjula in India with whom she regularly communicates. One day, she finds Elgie, Dr. Kurtz (Judy Greer), and an FBI agent at her home for an intervention. They tell her that Manjula is a front for a Russian criminal operation which has Bernadette's personal information and is planning to defraud her family. Elgie wants Bernadette to go with Dr. Kurtz to a mental hospital to seek treatment, which horrifies her. She sneaks out of the house and finds refuge with Audrey, with whom she makes amends. With Audrey's help, Bernadette flies to Antarctica. Elgie and Bee follow in hot pursuit, after the FBI agent tells them that the Russian criminal has been arrested and is no longer a threat.
In Antarctica, Bernadette befriends a scientist named Becky (Troian Bellisario) and learns that the research station at the South Pole is going to be completely rebuilt and will need an architect. She smuggles herself off her cruise ship and onto Palmer Station, where she convinces the team leader (Kate Burton) to give her a spot on the next convoy to the South Pole. Meanwhile, Elgie comes to the realization that he has failed his wife in not supporting her. He and Bee catch up with her at the station, and, realizing that her passion and creativity have been reignited, give their permission to her to make the 5-week trip.
- Cate Blanchett as Bernadette Fox
- Billy Crudup as Elgie Branch
- Emma Nelson as Balakrishna "Bee" Branch
- Kristen Wiig as Audrey Griffin
- James Urbaniak as Marcus Strang
- Judy Greer as Dr. Janelle Kurtz
- Troian Bellisario as Becky
- Zoë Chao as Soo-Lin Lee-Segal
- Laurence Fishburne as Paul Jellinek
- Claudia Doumit as Iris
- Katelyn Statton as Vivian
- Steve Zahn as David Walker
- Megan Mullally as Judy Toll
- Richard Robichaux as Floyd the pharmacist
- Jóhannes Haukur Jóhannesson as Captain J. Rouverol
- Kate Burton as Ellen Idelson
In January 2013, Annapurna Pictures and Color Force acquired the rights to the film adaptation of the novel, and set Scott Neustadter and Michael H. Weber to write the screenplay. Semple, Bryan Unkeless, and Ted Schipper executive produced. In February 2015, Richard Linklater was announced to direct the film, and in November 2015, Cate Blanchett was cast as Bernadette. In April 2016, It was announced that Holly Gent Palmo and Vince Palmo had taken over writing duties on the film, with Linklater also receiving credit.
In March 2017, Kristen Wiig joined the cast, and in May 2017, Billy Crudup was also added, marking his second collaboration with Blanchett, after appearing with her in Charlotte Gray (2001). In June 2017, Judy Greer, James Urbaniak, and Laurence Fishburne joined the cast of the film. In July 2017, Troian Bellisario also came on board, and Emma Nelson's casting was announced in June 2018. Graham Reynolds composed the score.
Originally scheduled for release on May 11, 2018, the film was later pushed back to October 19, 2018. The date was again pushed to March 22, 2019, before once again moving to August 9, 2019, and then back one final time to August 16, 2019.
In the United States and Canada, Where'd You Go, Bernadette was released alongside Blinded by the Light, 47 Meters Down: Uncaged, and Good Boys, and was projected to gross around $5 million from 2,404 theaters in its opening weekend. It made $1.2 million on its opening day, including $200,000 from Thursday night previews. It went on to debut to $3.5 million, finishing in 11th.
On Rotten Tomatoes, the film holds an approval rating of 49% based on 166 reviews, with an average rating of 5.67/10. The website's critical consensus reads, "Where'd You Go, Bernadette offers dispiriting proof that a talented director, bestselling source material, and terrific cast can add up to far less than the sum of their parts." On Metacritic, which uses a weighted average, the film has a score of 51 out of 100, based on 39 critics, indicating "mixed or average reviews." Audiences polled by CinemaScore gave the film an average grade of "B" on an A+ to F scale, while those at PostTrak gave it an average 3.5 out of 5 stars and a 60% "definite recommend."
Richard Roeper of the Chicago Sun-Times gave the film 2 out of 4 stars and wrote, "Filmed in a solid but straightforward style, populated by troubled characters who are aggressively off-putting, frustratingly passive and/or easily lampooned clichés, Where'd You Go, Bernadette is one of the most disappointing movies of 2019." In his 1/4 star review for The Globe and Mail, Barry Hertz said, "There is, buried deep somewhere in Linklater's film or however many edits it may have undergone – the thing reeks of indecision – an insightful, even invigorating story about what happens to a creative genius once they stop creating. But the actual work presents a good argument that, for some artists, it might be best to quit while you're ahead."
|2020||77th Golden Globe Awards||Best Actress in a Motion Picture – Musical or Comedy||Cate Blanchett||Nominated|
|Women Film Critics Circle||Best Actress||Nominated|
|Austin Film Critics Association||Austin Film Award||Richard Linklater||Nominated|
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