Review: Where’d You Go, Bernadette

Title: Where’d You Go, Bernadette

Release Date: August 16, 2019

Director: Richard Linklater

Starring: Cate Blanchett, Billy Crudup, Kristen Wiig, Emma Nelson, James Urbaniak, Judy Greer, Trojan Bellisario, Zoe Chao, and Laurence Fishburne

Review: I am so utterly confused by Where’d You Go Bernadette. Mainly because I don’t know how I’m supposed to feel while watching it. Am I supposed to love Bernadette or am I supposed to be annoyed by her? Am I supposed to think that her family is right? Overall, I was just left annoyed at the whole ordeal. And, because of that, I’m going to get mildly spoilery. All of this happens before she runs away so maybe it’s not so bad but I’d still rather put that warning out there.

What the hell am I supposed to think of Bernadette? I didn’t write that with the intention of it being a play on the title, but here we are. That should be the title of this movie. Listen, maybe it’s because of my love of Cate Blanchett, but I thought Bernadette was a cool character. She’s funny. She’s lovable. She seems on top of everything. Sure. She’s a bit wacky and hard to get along with. But, overall, I thought we were supposed to be sympathizing with her. Apparently, the movie had other ideas. Because it runs her into the ground. Her family and friends all seem to hate her and I can’t really figure out why. They point out some mistakes of hers but, from my point of view, they were all entirely justified. Like, she is accused of running over her neighbors foot and that’s shown to be a big deal and a reason to smite her. But, the movie goes out of its way to show that that’s not true. And, then later, her neighbors house is destroyed from a mudslide after Bernadette removes so grape vines and we’re told that Bernadette would’ve known that was going to happen. But, there’s not a single explanation as to why she’d know that and her neighbor is the one that asked her to do it in the first place! How is that Bernadette’s fault? There’s another situation where she screws over her family’s finances that again doesn’t seem like her fault.

This would all work if that was the point. But, the movie seems confused as to whether it is or not. Bernadette is made out to be both the victim and the villain of the story and it just doesn’t work. By the end of it, I hated just about everyone but Bernadette. And even she was a bit wonky because she was basically admitting that she had ruined her life. Sure. It’s all turned around by the end, but I wasn’t happy. I really didn’t think it should’ve worked out. All of these people are terrible. This movie is terrible.

I haven’t read the book but it has to make more sense than this. Someone has to be the good guy, right? That’s usually how fiction works. This just seems like an adaptation from someone who barely comprehended the book. Or maybe I’m giving the original author too much credit. Maybe the book is awful too. I don’t know. Maybe I’ll give it a read. Has anyone else checked it out? Am I just yelling into the void because literally no one else will see this movie?

TL;DR: Where’d You Go, Bernadette seems confused as to whether or not you should like the main character, which leads to a very frustrating viewing experience.

Score: 1 Star (I hated it.)

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