Away We Go
Away We Go is hilarious at times, slow during others, and sometimes surprisingly heartbreaking. It deals with real issues people face and has the courage to dig deeper instead of using easy clichés.
Burt Farlander and Verona De Tessant, decide to move somewhere else to start their family after discovering that Burt’s parents are moving thousands of miles away a month before their first grandchild is born. This comes after the couple, played by Maya Rudolph (Saturday Night Live) and John Krasinski (The Office), moved near them for support.
Instead of dwelling on their lack of family sustenance, they decide to take it as an opportunity for freedom to move wherever they choose. They set out on a journey of self-discovery during Verona’s 6th month of pregnancy and visit cities where they have a family member or close friend, who could also be part of their new support system. Both of Verona’s parents have passed away, but both Verona and Burt have a living sibling.
Along the journey their relationship is strengthened, their goals solidify, and we meet several colorful characters. The back-story is that of Verona’s parents’ death and how she is dealing with it (or not dealing with it, in this case) and how it is affecting her life and relationships.
I related to the characters because I am in my mid 30’s, trying to figure out where I fit in the world, and also without family to guide me or grandparents for my children. I just happened to be contemplating a move myself– a move that would satisfy my wanderlust and bring more opportunities for my family. Apparently, I’m not the only person from the audience in this situation. When I visited the film’s website, there were various articles inspired by the movie and one gives details of how to find a new place to live using internet sites.
I enjoyed seeing the various cities they were exploring, including some beautiful footage of Phoenix, Arizona. They also visited Miami, Florida and Montreal, Quebec. Not only were they exploring different cities to find where they belong, but they were also exploring different family styles.
You may recognize some of the characters as awfully close relatives to some living in Ashland, which was downright hilarious, but could offend some Ashlanders who identify with them.
Even though it was an interesting film, it still had its flaws. At times it felt overly sentimental. It was also confusing as to which genre this film was trying to be a part of: romance, comedy, or drama? I found myself wondering how they could afford to take all this time off from their jobs and still be able to buy multiple plane/train tickets. Plus, they considered moving to Montreal, which one cannot just ‘decide’ to do without obtaining citizenship. Even though Burt and Verona were the main characters, their roles were muted compared to the other subjects in the film. They would mostly react to the other people and then navigate into their next mini-adventure.
Away we go has the feel of an Independent film, but with many well-known Hollywood stars. Jeff Daniels and Catherine O’Hara play Burt’s parents. Maggie Gyllenhaal is brilliant as ‘LN’, an earth mother-type taken to the extreme. John Krasinski has some comic moments, but his characters usually have the same mannerisms. He plays them all like Jim Halpert from The Office. There was nothing wrong about his performance, but it was nothing to get excited about. It was nice to see Maya Rudolph’s serious side. Her character was just a regular person, contemplating her choices, as she is about to bring a new life into the world.