Cate Blanchett stars as architect Bernadette Fox, a creative genius who finds it impossible to live her life within the boundaries of what most people consider normal. When faced with the discomfort that her own life presents, her last defense mechanism is to simply flee.
Although this film’s trailer hints at a storyline similar to “Taken,” it couldn’t be more different. Driven by characters that aren’t stereotypes, it often takes turns and twists that the audience can’t see coming. Ten minutes in, you care about Bernadette, her husband, and her daughter, tensely hoping that everything will resolve in a positive way.
Kristin Wiig gives a notable performance as Bernadette’s neighbor Audrey, the local private school maven that you love to hate. Sharing a property line with Bernadette means all kinds of trouble, and Audrey seems the most unlikely person to eventually facilitate Bernadette’s final escape. That final escape, which is the real high point of the story, is a mysterious, redemptive trip to Antarctica.
Blanchett strikes just the right tone as Bernadette, as her quirks never become so annoying that we stop rooting for her. We also realize that her husband (played by Billy Crudup) and daughter (Emma Nelson), have their own lives and stories, which are frequently affected by living with a creative genius.
In an era where the action blockbuster or the franchise cartoon are the order of the day, it’s really something special to see a film with so many layers and unexpected situations.