I read this book ages ago, in a bit of a rush, because I thought the movie was coming out in May. I was wrong, as it came out this past weekend. Even though there was a good chunk of time between when I read it and saw it, I am so glad I got to experience it both ways.
The idea of Where’d You Go, Bernadette? is that a woman has gone missing, and they have to figure out where she’s gone. Surprise, her name is Bernadette. I feel like the title is the most on-the-nose statement out there, but there’s othing wrong with that! The book chronicles the events leading up to a family trip the characters were supposed to go on, but Bernadette disappeared before they could. It also shows what happens when she leaves, and how her family deals with it.
Where’d You Go, Bernadette? is a book written in text messages, emails, and the like, which makes sense once you’ve finished it. I was really intrigued by the movie, and how they would translate that to screen. I think they did well; there were a lot of dictated emails. But the story hit me far harder on screen.
I think since the book has a much more clinical look at what was happening, emotions are shown differently. I think the book was fine, but the movie really showed the relationship between Bernadette and her daughter, which hit me hard in the emotions. There’s a point after Bernadette’s disappearance where her daughter, Bee, says, “She is my best friend. She would never do something that would make it so she would never see me again!” It’s an incredibly powerful moment, and as I’m insanely close with my own mum, tears were streaming down my face. There was a lot of purity in the moments with Bee and Bernadette, and it felt completely real.
Another thing about the movie that hit me too hard, was the discussion of Bernadette’s anxiety, depression, and the way she deals with them. She is known for running away when things don’t go the way she wants them to, which is something I’m working on not doing (waves from my breakup and job search in the area, instead of packing up and moving home). It forced me to look at myself a bit more critically, which isn’t always fun.
I feel scattered talking about Where’d You Go, Bernadette? and I think that’s because it really hit me hard. I will definitely be going to see it again in theaters, and I highly recommend that you do the same! To those who have read the book, know there are differences. To those who haven’t read the book, I actually recommend you see this while it’s in theaters, read the book, then rewatch the movie so you can see the differences.
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