I brought my warm fuzzy blanket to the movie theater a couple of days ago. My dear friend Caroline had asked me to join her for a matinee showing of “Where’d You Go, Bernadette,” and I happily accepted. Caroline bought popcorn and cokes for us, and we settled in. She was fine without a blanket on an August afternoon – and as a bonus, didn’t look crazy. I felt cozy and snug.
As for the movie? It made me feel cozy and snug too. Take a girlfriend and go!
The book, by Maria Semple, has an unusual charm.
It’s hard to put your finger on why it works so well. It’s a parable, a comedy, a mystery, and a drama, these elements blending together to make something quite delicious. Like a really good smoothie.
The movie does not quite capture the feeling of the book. Or the mystery: where IS Bernadette? You’re not sure when you’re reading the book (as another dear Caroline reminded me). In the movie version, only her daughter and husband don’t know where she is.
By way of compensation, you get Cate Blanchett. She inhabits the role of Bernadette with radiance and complexity and energy. I couldn’t take my eyes off her. You aren’t meant to, I think.
The end wraps up “with a bow on it,” as my dear friend Libby prefers. You leave the theater feeling – rested. Maybe a tiny bit soothed.
What makes a happy ending, after all? Not only happiness for the characters, but some encouragement for you, the viewer. Encouragement, in this case, to find yourself. And – be yourself. These things can take a while – the finding. The being. And the people around you may still love you.
What an American movie! But that’s a different post.
Enjoy, my friends! I’d love to know what you think. xoxo