Light and well acted, but far from being Linklater's best - 5/10
A longtime fan of Richard Linklater's work which includes films such as "Dazed and Confused", "Boyhood", or the Before trilogy, I was very much looking forward to his newest flick "Where'd You Go, Bernadette", based on a book by Maria Semple. And while it's certainly far from being his best work, it still contained elements I found enjoyable and rewarding.
The character of Bernadette for instance, played by an exceptional Cate Blanchett, was both fascinating and entertaining to watch. Her relationship with her entourage, and notably her daughter portrayed by newcomer Emma Nelson, was overall quite a heartwarming one filled with smile-inducing moments. Linklater's signature comedic approach was generally well integrated to the narrative, but did at times feel a little forced and out of place.
My main issues with the film reside mostly in its execution. The story was filled with corny moments that didn't feel genuine in the slightest. The exposition and explanation of some of the main character's past was also handled in a pretty poor and ineffective way. Kristen Wiig's character, while decently acted, almost added nothing to the narrative and felt like an unwelcome caricature at times. Technically speaking, the film didn't really offer anything new as the cinematography was pretty bland and the score occasionally cheesy.
"Where'd You Go, Bernadette" is certainly flawed and feels lost in itself despite a terrific performance by Cate Blanchett, but is ultimately a short and light watch that may speak to parents more than any other demographic. I may not remember it as one of Linklater's greats but I don't regret watching it at all.
FINAL GRADE: 5/10
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