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Richard Linklater
Cate Blanchett, Billy Crudup, Laurence Fishburne
Writing Credits:
Richard Linklater, Holly Gent, Vince Palmo

A loving mom becomes compelled to reconnect with her creative passions after years of sacrificing herself for her family.

Rated PG-13.

Aspect Ratio: 1.85:1
English DTS-HD MA 5.1
Supplements Subtitles:

Runtime: 109 min.
Price: $34.98
Release Date:11/26/2019
• “Bringing Bernadette to Life” Featurette
• “Who Is Bernadette?” Featurette
• Gallery
• Trailer & Previews


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Where'd You Go, Bernadette [Blu-Ray] (2019)

Reviewed by Colin Jacobson (November 24, 2019)

Based on Maria Semple’s 2012 novel, 2019’s Where’d You Go, Bernadette introduces us to the title character, Bernadette Fox (Cate Blanchett). A stay-at-home mom, she lives with husband Elgin Branch (Billy Crudup) and daughter Bee (Emma Nelson).

In her younger days, Bernadette enjoyed a promising career as an architect. However, she put that on hold for decades and retreated from society.

After years of self-neglect, Bernadette rebels and decides to put herself first. This leads her on a journey of self-exploration and discovery.

Every year we get a few movies that fail to live up to their pedigree. These involve notable talent on both sides of the camera but they don’t match with expectations.

While not alone, Go gets one of these “prizes” for 2019. With much-lauded director Richard Linklater behind the camera and a cast of Blanchett, Crudup, Laurence Fishburne, Kristen Wiig, Megan Mullally, David Paymer, Steve Zahn and Judy Greer in front of it, this looked like a slam-dunk.


Because I never read Semple’s book, I can’t say how many of the movie’s problems stem from the source. However, I don’t tend to blame novelists for cinematic issues.

Whatever pros/cons a root text may offer, the filmmakers need to make it their own. Being faithful to a flawed source doesn’t seem like a satisfactory excuse.

That makes this Linklater’s baby, and he creates a pretty awful tale. While I don’t always like Linklater’s movies, I know he boasts talent, and Go feels like something made from a vastly inferior filmmaker.

Nothing here echoes the humanity in Linklater’s better works, especially due to the whimsical tone so much of Go adopts. Much of the time, the film feels like a random collection of cutesy scenes in search of a purpose.

None of these connect, and the awful story telling doesn’t help. At times, Go grinds to a halt to deliver clumsy exposition, scenes that a better-made film would deliver effortlessly.

Instead, we get stuck with awkward segments that bring out huge gobs of information with no natural impressions at all. These make an inconsistent film even less impactful.

The nature of the characters doesn’t help, as Go wants us to invest in a lot of whiny, snobby rich people. Saddled with the same flat, generic American accent she sported in Blue Jasmine, Blanchett fails to bring any form of charm or sympathy to our lead.

Despite her inability to convey a convincing American tone, I like Blanchett, but she fails miserably here. She gives us a manic, annoying performance that ensures we never care about Bernadette.

If we follow a character on a journey to rediscover herself, we need to want to see her succeed. We don’t – we really don’t care at all.

All of this adds up to a slow, rambling 109 minutes of nonsense. Go wastes a lot of talent and becomes a frustrating mess.

The Disc Grades: Picture B+/ Audio B/ Bonus D+

Where’d You Go, Bernadette appears in an aspect ratio of 1.85:1 on this Blu-ray Disc. This became a pleasant presentation.

Sharpness was positive. Only a smidgen of softness impacted some interiors, so the image remained pretty tight and well-defined most of the time.

I noticed no issues with shimmering or jaggies, and edge haloes failed to appear. Print flaws also failed to mar the presentation.

Go went with a teal-influenced palette that sprinkled in some amber as well. Within the movie’s color design, the tones seemed solid.

Blacks were dark and deep, while shadows demonstrated nice smoothness. This was a consistently satisfying image.

As for the DTS-HD MA 5.1 mix of Go, it showed scope generally typical of the drama/comedy soundfield. That said, the film’s material occasionally allowed it to open up in a satisfying manner.

Travel segments added a little immersiveness, as did others related to weather and environmental information. The mix did use the score in a broad, engaging manner, though, and the whole package fit together smoothly.

Audio quality seemed good. Speech was distinctive and natural, without edginess or other issues.

Music seemed warm and lush, while effects showed nice clarity and accuracy. The mix suited the story and kicked into gear when necessary.

Two featurettes appear, and Bringing Bernadette to Life fills 14 minutes, 47 seconds with comments from director Richard Linklater, author Maria Semple, and actors Cate Blanchett, Billy Crudup, Kristen Wiig, and Emma Nelson.

“Life” looks at the source and its adaptation, story/characters, Linklater’s approach to the production, cast and performances. A few insights result, but much of this offers the usual promotional fluff.

Who Is Bernadette? goes for four minutes, 57 seconds and offers notes from Linklater, Blanchett, Crudup, and Nelson. We get a basic look at the lead character in this fairly forgettable reel.

A Gallery presents 24 photos from the set and the film. I appreciate that Fox continues to provide these compilations since most of the other studios don’t, but these collections usually seem forgettable, and that’s true for this one.

The disc opens with ads for Booksmart and The Art of Racing in the Rain. In addition to the film’s traiiler, Sneak Peek adds promos for Can You Ever Forgive Me? and Missing Link.

Despite tremendous talent involved, Where’d You Go, Bernadette becomes a major misfire. Disjointed, overbearing and poorly structured, the film fizzles. The Blu-ray comes with good picture and audio as well as minor bonus features. Little about this movie succeeds.

Viewer Film Ratings: 2 Stars Number of Votes: 1
0 3:
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