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Away We Go: A Review

June 7, 2009

About a month ago I was able to go to a screening of Away We Go at the Pickford Center, part of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences.  Afterwards they had a Q & A with Sam Mendes, the director, and John Krasinski and Maya Rudolph.  Krasinski plays 30-something Burt to Rudolph’s Verona.  They’ve been together since college, but haven’t gotten married – mainly because Verona refuses Burt’s proposals. After finding out they’re expecting, Burt’s parents happily announce they’re moving to Europe before the baby will be born.  Suddenly untethered, they decide to test out possible future homes for their child: Verona’s sister lives in Tucson, Burt might have a job in Madison, and they have college friends in Montreal.  The refreshing thing about this movie, as compared with Sam Mendes’ prior work, is that Burt and Verona are completely in love. It’s the two of them and then there’s everyone else.  At one point, unsure of how their lives and their relationship are going to change with the addition of a child, Verona asks Burt, “There’s no one in love like us, right?”  Krasinski said it was probably his favorite line of the movie. They work surprisingly well together, though when I initially heard who was cast in the female lead I was doubtful.  As someone who’s mainly known for comedy on Saturday Night Live, Maya Rudolph did an outstanding job in a somewhat dramatic role.

The screenplay was written by one of my favorite writers, Dave Eggers, along with his wife, Vendela Vida. Sam Mendes mentioned that one of the things that really drew him to the script was that it expressed such optimism and was a really original screenplay.  Overall I really enjoyed it – really funny, touching, thoughtful. I felt there were a few moments that were a little overwrought, but it didn’t wreck the movie.  The supporting cast is just amazing – Catherine O’Hara, Allison Janney, Jim Gaffigan (listening to him go on and on about Phoenix nearly made me cry I was laughing so hard), Maggie Gyllenhaal. Especially keep an eye out for Chris Messina and Melanie Lynskey, the college friends in Montreal. Krasinski said that in his opinion, besides Maya, Messina gave the best performance in the film. I won’t give away any plot details, but Mendes mentioned that right after they shot the scene at the bar, Messina flew home and became a father the next day. If you see it, I guess you’ll understand what I mean.  Paul Schneider wowed as well. I loved him in Lars and the Real Girl and I’m excited to see what body part he broke falling into the pit on Parks and Recreation when it starts in the fall.

In the end it seems pretty obvious that they were meant to end up where they did, but the original had them saying screw it and moving to Costa Rica. The rewrite is much better.

If you see this movie, please let me know what you think! A friend of mine was able to be an extra for the scenes in Tucson. Keep your eye out for the hot female bartender!

2 Comments leave one →
  1. Eunice permalink
    June 7, 2009 10:23 pm

    Great blog! (and I’m not just saying that because of what you said at the end).

    I can’t wait to go see it. It doesn’t come out in Phoenix until next weekend and even then, it’s only out in one theatre in Scottsdale. My SIL is graduating and a bunch of the in-laws are staying with us that weekend, so I’m hoping I can sneak off one of those days to go watch it.

  2. meg2885 permalink*
    June 7, 2009 11:01 pm

    I think I know what theater you’re talking about. I used to go there all the time to see the indies. That’s one thing I’m going to miss about LA- you can see any movie that comes out pretty easily. I think you’ll really like it.

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