Where’d You Go, Bernadette? is Richard Linklater finally making his Airport Novel movie.
There comes a time when you’re glad that serious films are reclaiming spots of the summer season. Yet, this film was so boring. I wasn’t a huge fan of the book, but the source novel at least made you feel for Bernadette Fox’s journey. Pairing a story like this with a passive director like Richard Linklater produces quite a blend. A mature movie about nothing much that believes it is saying it all.
After having read the book for a second time and seeing the feature film recently, I was struck by something. Who gives a shit about upper class people wistfully wondering about wasting their abilities? Emotional affairs, family trips to Antarctica and private school moms sniping each other has no relevance in modern America. Plus, the people who would actually get into this don’t go out to see movies with commoners.
What hurts Where’d You Go, Bernadette as a film is the controlled cuts to the movie. I’m not sure how much was Linklater or Annapurna, but it felt like a bottom line move. Not that I know of the film being tested to audiences prior to release. However, between the theatrical cut and the source novel, I can find many elements of a story that would be repugnant to modern audiences.
Richard Linklater’s desire to make the bizarre characters of his worlds into empathic and likeable touchstones has never been so poorly served than here. Hell, I’d take a second trip with The Newton Boys before watching Bernadette sulk one more damn time. If there is something positive to be taken away from the film, it’s the fact that Cate Blanchett acts circles around everyone.
But, the secret of the film lives in Billy Crudup’s dead eyes. That Doc Manhattan style monotone and that vacant stare says everything about this movie. Nothing matters, everything changes and ultimately nobody evolves. This is a mismatch of talent, scripting and direction.
When you listen to podcasts covering prior movie release decades and wonder how a Richard Benjamin movie could be released between Top Gun and Ferris Bueller’s Day Off, you have your answer. In the pursuit of making something for adults, the powers that be forgot to make something that was good.
Hell, the film was so bad that it’s making me second guess why I liked the movie. For shame, Annapurna. For shame, Richard Linklater.
Where’d You Go, Bernadette is in theaters now!