Discoveries in Where’d You Go, Bernadette carry a true joy


Sometimes the best of us can get lost without really identifying the when’s, why’s and how’s.

That’s the point behind the very agreeable Where’d You Go, Bernadette, a lovely and loving piece of work directed by Richard Linklater from his screenplay co-written with Holly Gent (and very much driven by Maria Semple’s popular novel).

We meet Bernadette as a mother and wife cooped up in a home and life that’s somehow cooping her up in Seattle. The house is large, her daughter is brilliant, and her husband appears to be doing things right. Plus, as we discover layer by layer, Bernadette, the woman who rails against the other mothers at school and squirms against so much in this life of hers, has a confirmable genius past. Yes, Bernadette Fox won big awards for her work, as well as the national limelight, back in Los Angeles.

But her big project didn’t go exactly as planned, threads began to unravel and …

Cate Blanchette shines as this complicated woman, ready to rail against the ills of the world, real and perceived. Billy Crudup also shines as a perpelexed husband, and Emma Nelson stands out as the daughter fiercely loyal to both parents, but especially her mom.

For an added treat, we get Kristen Wiig as an aggrieved neighbor ready to turn Bernadette in for so much bad acting, until … she doesn’t.

The adventure that comes about when push comes to shove in Bernadette’s cracked foundation is a great glue, indeed. There can be something warming about a trip to Antarctica, after all.

Back at last. (From

Cheers to Linklater for adding this slightly off-kilter family portrait to his resume.

Movie lovers in Central New York can see Where’d You Go Bernadette? free as part of the Liverpool Public Library’s Movie Matinee series, at 1:30 p.m. Tuesday, Feb. 25 and 2:30 p.m. Friday, Feb. 28, 2020, in the Carman Community Room.

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