IMDb Rating: 6.5/10
PG-13 |1h 49min |Comedy, Drama |16 Aug 2019 (Canada) |Movie
Rotten Tomatoes Rating: 49% Rotten (Critic Reviews) | 74% Fresh (Audience)
Director: Richard Linklater
Writers: Richard Linklater, Holly Gent, Vincent Palmo Jr.
Stars: Cate Blanchett, Billy Crudup, Emma Nelson
Movie Tagline: “Bernadette Fox has it all. A loving husband, and a brilliant daughter. But the one thing missing, is her”.
IMDb summary: A loving mom becomes compelled to reconnect with her creative passions after years of sacrificing herself for her family. Her leap of faith takes her on an epic adventure that jump-starts her life and leads to her triumphant rediscovery.
Cate Blanchett and Billy Crudup in a movie together? Yes, please! Even with a film most critics disliked, there is always something worthwhile to take away. A film about a woman’s rediscovery of herself may not be everyone’s cuppa tea, but this film is delightful and Cate Blanchett is, as always, on her mark as the lead character, Bernadette.
Bernadette is a woman who has lost her purpose. While she’s not exactly suffering at the bottom of a bottle or abusing prescription drugs, she was once a prominent architect who has now become a shut-in. She has closed herself off to the world and to her husband. She’s not agoraphobic but imagine a “crazy cat lady” without the cats. Bernadette is someone who needs to be creative to be useful to the world. And when she loses the momentum to create through a series of career setbacks, Bernadette loses sight of herself and becomes more and more desperate and frustrated as the days pass. Even her neighbours avoid her.
Bernadette has two things in her life that are saving her from that bottle of prescription drugs; her devoted, successful and charismatic husband Elgie played by Billy Crudup, and her supportive daughter Bee portrayed by Emma Nelson. They endure Bernadette’s erratic behaviour, but eventually, Bernadette ends up pushing her husband further and further away. Bee is discovering that supporting her mother alone is a gruelling task to manage for a teenager. And while the focus of the film is Bernadette, Bee is every bit the saving grace in Bernadette’s life. Which is both touching and kind of sad?
Bernadette’s mental health eventually comes into question, which is when we see her at her lowest in the film. With her husband losing faith by the day, and Bee being ill-equipped to deal with her mother’s mentally fragile state, Bernadette does the only thing she was ever good at besides building things; and that is to run from everyone and everything. Hence the brilliant play on words for the title of the film.
At its core, this film is about family. But it’s also about what happens when you don’t look after yourself (self-care) and dealing with life when there are no lemons to make lemonade. It’s about sticking things out because you love someone enough to be there. And it’s about rediscovering and relearning what it takes to be the best version of yourself you can be; not just for your loved ones, but for you.
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Freelance entertainment writer and reviewer. Visit my blog on https://thebrokenquill.com.