Tuesday’s Overlooked Film: Away We Go (2009)

This week’s pick in the ongoing series from Todd at Sweet Freedom is Away We Go the 2009 comedy drama starring Maya Rudolph and John Krasinski, as an expectant couple who take to the road in search of a home to call their own. Away We Go is directed by Academy Award™-winning director Sam Mendes.

© Focus Features

Burt (Krasinski) and Verona (Rudolph) are expecting a baby, the joy of which they plan on sharing with Burt’s parents (Catherine O’ Hara and Jeff Daniels), who live nearby. This plan is turned on its head when his parents announce that they are moving thousands of miles away. As a result, the couple decides to plot out an itinerary that will take them across the United States (and Canada). At the end of the journey, they will decide which of the many places that they visit will be there new home.

Not all goes as planned; each place reveals to them a side of their friends and families that makes them question if they want to raise their daughter around these individuals. Their trip is interrupted by an emergency call from Burt’s brother in Florida, whose wife has left him and their daughter. This experience leads our couple to take stock and come to a definite decision about their future home.

At this point of the journey, they finally ‘arrive,’ realizing that home is not necessarily a place, but rather a state of being, so that no matter where they ‘are,’ with each other and baby to be will be ‘home.’

Focus Features

I found this movie equally funny and poignant at times. As with most ‘road’ movies, the physical journey acts as metaphor for an emotional or spiritual quest. It is no different here in Away We Go. But what moved me about this this film is that through the main and supporting characters we get to hear some of the real joy and pain that are a natural part of finding and maintaining relationships and family. I really feel like the director Sam Mendes was making a very personal picture and making his own statement about these issues.

Aside from the leads (who were awesome) I would be remiss of me not to mention some of my favorite supporting performances, … but then I would be listing everyone in the cast! For me this was that kind of movie. Yeah some of the couples they met may have been a bit caricatured, but what else would one expect in a road movie?

Away We Go was written by husband/wife team Dave Eggers and Vendela Vida and features original music from Scottish singer/songwriter Alexi Murdoch.