Away We Go
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John Krasinski (The Office) and Maya Rudolph (Saturday Night Live) star in the heartfelt film that explores the comedic twists and turns in one couple’s journey across contemporary America. Anticipating the birth of their first child, longtime couple Burt (Krasinski) and Verona (Rudolph) embark on an ambitious itinerary to visit friends and family in order to find their perfect home. Featuring a remarkable soundtrack and an incredible ensemble cast – including Jeff Daniels, Allison Janney, Maggie Gyllenhaal, Catherine O’Hara and Jim Gaffigan. It’s the hilarious, witty film that critics are hailing as “absolutely extraordinary!” (Peter Travers, Rolling Stone)
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I've been waiting a few months for this one. As it began, I thought that I wouldn't enjoy the film, but it really wins you over as it progresses. The glue to the movie is Alexi Murdoch's wonderful soundtrack. The songs are inserted in timely fashion throughout, and where they are inserted, they punctuate every scene. Sam Mendes (who I am a fan of) makes great use of every note from every song in this film.
There are elements of this movie that are probably best appreciated by parents, but it's one all adults could enjoy. It's not a must-see, but it's definitely worth seeing.
Verona De Tessant: "Yes, I do. Do you promise, when she talks, you'll listen? Like, really listen, especially when she's scared? And that her fights will be your fights?"
Burt Farlander: "I do. And do you promise that if I die some embarrassing and boring death that you're gonna tell our daughter that her father was killed by Russian soldiers in this intense hand-to-hand combat in an attempt to save the lives of 850 Chechnyan orphans?"
Verona De Tessant: "I do. Chechnyan orphans. I do. I do."
Conversations you'd find in real relationships.
Hope overcoming deep sadness.
A perfect soundtrack (Alexi Murdoch's voice feels like wearing a warm sweater while walking along the beach).
Really, it doesn't get any better.
Once things get going, you realize that every frame manages poignancy in some manner as the ever-stalwart couple (a fat and frolicsome Maya Rudolph and plucky, indefatigable John Krazinski) travel onward toward another intriguing relationship example. Sam Mendes' attitude toward the material seemingly improves at the midpoint. Or perhaps it is simply that road enlivens all. The secondary characters reveal themselves as shockingly insightful, thanks to a beautiful script by Dave Eggers and Vendela Vida.
Reliably glum albino Jim Gaffigan makes a hilariously apocalyptic and timely rant about Phoenix--and the rest of the world's--water evaporating. Elsewhere, Maggie Gyllanhal is disturbingly plausible as a deranged New Wave mother, first seen breast-feeding a baby and a mortified redhead boy simultaneously. Chris Massina delivers an unsettling anecdote concerning the reason for his adoptions as his wife slowly oscillates on a pole in a strip club.
Through the film, the dynamic duo at the center react with a convincing amount of cynicism, awe, and, during their time with Gyllanhal--undeniable disgust. Still, sometimes things get so awkward we aren't sure these characters actually knew one another before filming began. There is so much distance, obscurity and oddness at work that we are detached. It doesn't help that all is shot in subdued tones. And yet, the film is recommendable for its wise dialogue and pitch-perfect performances.