- Cate Blanchett, Judy Greer, Kristen Wiig
- Richard Linklater, Holly Gent, Vincent Palmo Jr.
- Richard Linklater
- PG (Canada), PG-13 (United States)
- Running Time
- 130 minutes
- Release Date
- August 16th, 2019
Writer/director Richard Linklater is an icon in his own right, and it’s something that can’t be denied by any true cinephile. With a distinct style and structure (or lack thereof) that makes his films feel so personal to him, he has been able to create some of the most important films in the history of independent American film. With that, he has massively shaped the American indie film movement into what it is today. His latest film, Where’d You Go Bernadette, has some highlights in terms of the way it was put together, but overall, the subject matter here doesn’t clash well with his approach, resulting in a product that feels below Linklater’s usual quality, as well as the source material.
There are definitely some highlights in Where’d You Go Bernadette, and it’s kind of tough to point out any individual aspect to blame here. Most of the actors do a pretty solid job at what they’re given to do in a way that quite authentic to the book. The ensemble works well together, and in particular, Kristen Wiig is a standout as Audrey – her comedic sensibility works really well with the material. Unfortunately, it’s simply hard to pinpoint what exactly is done well here since the film was assembled in such a jumbled way. The content itself and the way it was put together only worked to restrict any one element to truly stand out.
One of the bigger problems with Where’d You Go Bernadette wasn’t necessarily this film’s fault but is a disconnect between the source material and the medium in which it was presented. The dialogue is so deadpan to a point that it only works on paper, however, hearing it said out loud is baffling and quite strange. Meanwhile, the script is seemed written like something meant to be read to one’s self, rather than out loud which felt odd and the fact that the actors here aren’t particularly known for comedic roles made it even that much harder for the humor to have any impact.
Considering the film was directed by a modern day auteur, it’s quite shocking to see how little craft, passion or creativity is felt in the final product. Where’d You Go Bernadette was supposed to be released nearly a year ago though has since faced continuous delays. The final product and it’s painfully mediocre result has no better explanation than a clash of creativity thus feeling nothing like a Linklater film. It lacks the charm, humor, structure and organic feel of his work of an auteur, and it’s visual style feels so lifeless and lacking effort. Something about this just feels so questionably average like it’s missing the ambition a film like this should have had.
Where’d You Go Bernadette is a very hard film to talk about. The story is so jumbled that even starting a discussion is almost impossible. Ultimately, everything about it just lacks the high quality we are accustomed to, considering the talented cast and director involved. There isn’t much that glaringly positive or negative about this particular adaptation, and that’s what made it as disappointing as it was.
There’s just nothing memorable enough here about Where’d You Go Bernadette.
*still courtesy of eOne Films*