Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Away We Go

Away We Go is a sweet little film stars Maya Rudolph and John Krasinski as Verona and Bert, an unexpectedly pregnant, thirty-something couple searching for a place to raise their new family all while trying to discover themselves and the full potential of their lives.

They consider themselves to be "fuck-ups" because they haven't followed the normal steps to becoming a family - her parents have both passed away and she can't bear the thought of getting married without them there. They are educated and intelligent, but are really unsure what to do when life throws them this little curve ball.

After a disastrous dinner with Bert's parents (Catherine O'Hara and Jeff Daniels, both wonderful as always), they realize that nothing is keeping them from finding a new place to live, and they begin traveling the country, visiting friends and new places, keeping a lookout for the perfect location.

It was pretty obvious where they were going to end up, but that doesn't mean that it's not worth watching. Away We Go has grown on me since I watched it over a week ago, and while it's definitely a little weird and a little pretentious, it struck a chord and twisted my heartstrings. The acting was very subtle and beautiful - Rudolph was quite good, and Krasinski was solid. He didn't devolve into his Office character (as much as I love Jim Halpert, his mannerisms and antics would have gotten old if I had to watch them in a feature film rather than in twenty-two minutes on a Thursday evening), and has proven himself as a strong male lead.

The differing encounters with their friends and family are the moments that really elevate the film. Allison Janey was her usual fabulous/insane self as Verona's former boss, and Maggie Gyllenhaal was completely over-the-top fantastic as a self-absorbed, liberal, stroller-hating "relative" of Bert's (what's sad is that we all probably know someone like her - and avoid her). The storylines around Bert's brother and additionally their married college friends, were sweet, poignant, and touching.

And it is here that we discover the heart of this movie - in their travels, Bert and Verona see that all people, in any form of relationship, are "fuck-ups." No one really knows what they're doing and no one can predict the future. But they are confident in their love and in their relationship, and are ready for whatever might come their way.

What I appreciate most about this film is that it doesn't follow the traditional "romantic comedy" route. Partly, I think that it's because it's not technically a romantic comedy, but mostly it's because this is truly a couple in love. They don't keep secrets from each other and they don't let little misunderstandings become enormous problems. They actually communicate! They get cross with each other once or twice, and annoyed with each other, but their love is never in doubt.

It was a lovely little film!


lem said...

"They actually communicate!"

Isn't it sad that that doesn't happen in the real world?

Heather said...

lem - Yes, it IS sad. Perhaps that's why this film resonated with me so much.

Mike and I are constantly yelling at the screen while watching movies and tv shows because of the stupid "misunderstandings" that could have been avoided had the characters actually TALKED to one another.

Of course, that would leave us with twenty seconds of actual plot, so whatever.