Director Sam Mendes last movie showed a couple deteriorating right in front of our eyes in "Revolutionary Road", and in a way he makes up for that depressing slog with "Away We Go". The couple here are upstarts, two people with a baby on the way who for the first time find themselves wondering about where they fit in the world and what they'll be like as parents. They're hopeful, but you can see the fear plastered on their face. First time screenwriters (and husband and wife) Dave Eggers and Vendela Vida waste no time in making them two identifiable people, and in the way they survey life's odd, complicated, and wonderful little moments, "Go" never fails at being a funny, thoughtful and heartwarming little gem that you'll fall in love with.
John Krasinski (The Office) and Maya Rudolph (Saturday Night Live) play Burt and Verona, a mid-thirties boyfriend-girlfriend (Verona has a marriage issue) who get the shock of their lives when Verona gets pregnant. Not only that but any roots they have in their little Connecticut town are about to be uprooted because Burt's parents (a funny Jeff Daniels and Catherine O'Hara) are moving to Belgium a month before the baby is born. Having no reason to stay where they are, they pack up and take a road trip, stopping anywhere they know they might find a familiar face. Phoenix, Tucson, Madison, Montreal, and Miami are all marked for a trial period as the two try to figure out who and what they would like to raise their family around.
It's an odd blend of dealing with life's what-ifs and meeting a variety of broad characters. Allison Janney is the funniest of the broad, playing Verona's former boss Lily, an abrasive alcoholic who enjoys point-blank degrading her children and her crazy, paranoid husband, nicely played by Jim Gaffigan. Maggie Gyllenhaal also shows up later on as Burt's zen-like cousin who takes family closeness to a whole new level, i.e creepy. Mendes balances scenes like these perfectly with the richly written script. A scene between Verona and her sister (Carmen Ejogo) where the ushering in of new life forces them to confront the death of their parents, and another where Burt's brother (Paul Schneider), whose wife has just abandoned him and their young daughter, encourages Burt to think about the strength of his own bond with Verona have a rare power that speaks to the importance of family. There is a point where the interspersing of comedy and drama starts to get old but luckily a third act of genuine lessons and happy mediums lead to some of the movies best scenes.
And these are star-making turns from Krasinski and Rudolph. He has a doofy charm that gets a couple good laughs but he also makes Burt a loveably doting and comforting boyfriend there for Verona no matter what. And Rudolph is a big surprise here as she turns in a performance of maturity, vulnerability, and depth. This type of performance is a long way from SNL. They are, for the most part, the straight-men to the quirky characters and are called upon to spend most of the movie's run-time just talking and they gel so well with each other that you really don't even mind. Ellen Kuras' cinematography (rolling hills, sunrises, planes moving across glass window panes) and Alexi Murdoch's songs only increase the pleasure in this funny and effective indie rom-com.
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Away We Go
Comedy / Drama / Romance
Away We Go
Comedy / Drama / Romance
Burt Farlander and Verona De Tessant are a couple steeped in eccentricity and irregularity but are very much in love. So when they find out that Verona is pregnant they seem to be taking it in their stride. Verona is enjoying pregnancy, Burt is already practicing skill that he believes a good father should have, and they living in the same state as Burt's parents, Jerry and Gloria, so that their prospective daughter can have grandparents. However, things are shaken up when Burt and Verona go to dinner at Jerry and Gloria's house, as Burt's parents reveal a surprising piece of news. They have decided to move to Antwerp in Belguim a month before the baby is due, scuppering Burt and Verona's plans of having their children's grandparents around. Because Verona lost her parents when she was relatively young, she finds this news very hard to take, but the resilient couple quickly find a way to turn it in to a positive. It becomes obvious that this is what the pair needed, as they decide to ...
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February 27, 2020 at 07:34 AM