Director Richard Linklater has been on quite a roll with a string of fantastic films, but even the greats deserve a mulligan.
"Where'd You Go, Bernadette?" has all the makings of a successful film. It has an A-List star in the title role, a solid supporting cast, and is based on a best-selling book. Add into the mix that it is directed by Richard Linklater, the man who has helmed generation-defining films ("Dazed and Confused," "Everybody Wants Some!") and some of the best films of the past few decades ("Boyhood," "Before Sunset," "Before Sunrise," "Before Midnight," "School of Rock," "Bernie"). So the question really is: What went wrong, Bernadette?
Bernadette Fox (Cate Blanchett) is a legendary architect who one day just suddenly stopped doing what she loved when the burden of being a mom and a wife became too much for her. Her daughter Becky somehow talks her mom and her dad, Elgie (Billy Crudup) into going on a trip to Antarctica, sending Bernadette on a journey of self-discovery, and us viewers on the path towards cliché-ridden melodrama.
Kristen Wiig also stars as Bernadette's uppity neighbor, who is always trying to one-up everybody around her...she has one very strong scene with Blanchett, but this story doesn't end up feeling necessary or relevant in the big picture of the film's trajectory.
Linklater has always had a knack for finding character through dialogue, but all of these characters are fighting against being thinly-written. You have the bored housewife, the preoccupied dad, the unruly neighbor and the rambunctious teenager. It just feels like this is a journey that we've already been on numerous times, and even Linklater isn't able to spark fire.
Where "Bernadette" ends up going is ultimately predictable from the start, and even Cate Blanchett can't steer it away from the literal and metaphorical icebergs in its path.
Genre: Comedy, Drama, Mystery.
Run Time: 1 hour 50 minutes.
Starring: Cate Blanchett, Judy Greer, Kristen Wiig, Billy Crudup, Troian Bellisario, Laurence Fishburne.
Based on the novel by Maria Semple.
Directed by Richard Linklater ("Last Flag Flying," "Everybody Wants Some!!" "Boyhood," "Before Midnight," "Bernie," "A Scanner Darkly," "School of Rock," "Before Sunrise," "Dazed and Confused").
"Where'd You Go, Bernadette?" opens everywhere on Friday, August 16th, 2019.
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