Cate Blanchett's new movie Where’d You Go, Bernadette is here to make you feel adventurous.


Cate Blanchett’s new movie Where’d You Go, Bernadette is a whimsical exploration of motherhood and the importance of second acts.

Based on the popular 2012 book of the same name by Maria Semple, director Richard Linklater’s film draws the audience into the closeted world of architect-turned-recluse Bernadette Fox (Cate Blanchett).

Bernadette lives inside a beautiful yet crumbling mansion, perched atop a hill in Seattle, which used to be a schoolhouse. It now appears to be a home forever stuck between renovation and completion.

Watch the trailer for Where’d You Go, Bernadette below. Post continues after video.

Within the walls of her rambling, quirky house, Bernadette is happiest when in the presence of her 15-year-old daughter Bee (Emma Nelson) but has developed a fear of the outside, much to her husband Elgin’s (Billy Crudup) concern.

She has little time or interest in the other parents at Bee’s school, often referring to them as “gnats”, and instead opts to spend the majority of her day furiously communicating over voice message and email with Manjula, her so-called personal assistant, who she has never met.


Although Bee is the most understanding of her mother’s quirks and condition, it’s her dream to travel to Antarctica and after receiving excellent school marks, she finally convinces her reluctant mother to take the whole family on a trip.

However, after an altercation with her pushy next-door neighbor Audrey Griffin (Kristen Wiig) that causes half of Bernadette’s unkept garden to collapse onto Audrey’s house, and her husband stages an intervention, Bernadette disappears without a trace.

The movie then follows Bee’s journey to track down her missing mother, learning in the process about a side of Bernadette’s life that had been kept hidden from her. That once upon a time Bernadette was a rising star of the Los Angeles architecture scene, a pioneer of the holistic “green building movement” and won awards for creating a famous structure called the 20-Mile House, before locking herself away from the world.

Meanwhile, Bernadette flees to Antarctica, where she begins to rediscover passions she thought she had long forgotten.

It’s here she meets a marine biologist called Becky, played by Pretty Little Liars star Troian Bellisario, who is heading to work on a research station at the South Pole.

Cate Blanchett as Bernadette and Emma Nelson as Bee in Where’d You Go, Bernadette. Image: Universal Pictures.


Troian vividly remembers the day she heard about the film, video auditioning for the role of Becky while on location with her husband Patrick J. Adams, who was filming his TV series Suits at the time.

Although it had always been her dream to work with both Cate Blanchett and Richard Linklater, the actress told Mamamia she never expected those scenes to take place within a kayak, trying not to steer into Cate, in the icy waters of Greenland where the films' Antarctica scenes were filmed.

"I spent a whole weekend kayaking with Cate Blanchett on a river prior to filming those scenes," the 34-year-old actress told Mamamia. "She has always been such an icon to me and I was so overwhelmed at the idea of working with her, but then when we actually went to shoot these scenes it was just wild.


"One of the funniest things is that when you’re filming a scene they need you to hit a mark. But it’s absolutely impossible to hit a mark in a kayak in the middle of the ocean. So I would glide right past Cate or I would glide into the camera. Every so often we would all stop filming because a whale would swim by. It was also quite scary at times, knowing there was so much wildlife in the water."

Since wrapping filming on Where’d You Go, Bernadette Troian has welcomed a daughter called Aurora Adams, who is now one year old and said the new addition to her family changed the way she saw elements of the film.

"When I was hired to do this film I wasn’t a mother myself yet," Troian told Mamamia. "But now the major theme of the film for me is that it's about an artist who was no longer able to create, who was no longer able to act on her impulses. It looks at the major detriment this takes on her life.

"Now that I have a baby girl I totally relate to the motherhood side of it, to the idea of trying to forge your own identity.

"They say that the day a baby is born, a mother is born as well. So now I have this part of my brain that is always being occupied with ‘is my child safe? is she healthy?’. There is a part of you that gets sacrificed.

"I love this film because it makes it clear that you can't just expect that stuff to go away, you have to feed it. You can still be an incredible mother and do the things you want to do in your life. What you can't do is squash your dreams inside of yourself.

"That’s what I love so much about the relationship between Bee and Bernadette," she continued. "Bee is such an intelligent young woman but you see her fascination with her mother when finds out more about what Bernadette was like before she was born. Sometimes we forget that our parents had these full, incredible lives before we were in them."


But the most important theme of the movie, according to Troian, is how it champions the importance of leaning into your 'second act', whether it be career, life or relationships.

"Sometimes people say to me ‘oh, so now that you’re a director, you don’t want to act anymore?" she told Mamamia. "And I quickly say back ‘no, of course, I still want to act! That’s my first love’. People always expect you to be just one thing.

"We are all so capable of doing everything. Just like we see with Bernadette in the movie, we want it all. We want to pursue our dreams and be a good parent, and a good partner.

"When you walk out of seeing this movie I hope that you tell someone that you love them, that you take the time to be with them.

"And I hope this movie inspires you to cross something off your bucket list, to do the one adventurous thing you’ve always wanted to do."

Where’d You Go, Bernadette opens in Australia cinemas Thursday July 16. It is rated M. 

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