Monday, 7 September 2009

Away We Go, BFI

Away We Go (out on Sep 18, I think) is a fairly traditional Indiewood road movie, along the lines of Little Miss Sunshine or Sideways, directed by Sam Mendes from a script by Dave Eggers and Vendela Vida.

When thirty-somethings Burt (John Krasinski) and Verona (Maya Rudolph) find out they're expecting a kid, they realise they need to move out of their ramshackle house and find a more functional home in which to bring up their child.

They set off on a road trip to visit various friends and relatives and try out their cities for size. So, they drop in on Verona's uninhibited ex-boss, a trust-fund hippy childhood friend of Bert, Verona's sister and a pair of married college friends, before being summoned to Miami to help Burt's brother deal with his wife walking out on him.

Each of the encounters highlights a different facet of parenthood and the relationship between generations, fitting in with the classic road movie template of the characters' psychological journey taking precedence over their physical travels.

The journey eventually leads to the couple renegotiating the terms of their relationship and Verona starting to come to terms with the death of her parents in her early 20s. The revelation of the final destination in which they choose to live gives the film a simple (and mostly wordless) but surprisingly moving conclusion.

It's a fairly slight film, and its structure - obviously - means that it's a bit episodic; each of the 'chapters' is given an emphatic title card. Some of the characters are also a bit over-the-top or clearly designed to illustrate a point, but then the structure means that they don't outstay their welcome.

Away We Go isn't innovative or life-changing, but its leads give charming performances and it can sit alongside films like Broken Flowers, Transamerica and the two mentioned above as a worthwhile modern addition to the transformational road movie.

Interview with Eggers and Vida (Film in Focus)

Two-part essay on road movies by Sam North (


The Kid In The Front Row said...

Is it just me or, in terms of marketing, are they trying to make this film look like 'Juno'?

Tom Murphy said...

I hadn't really noticed before, but you're dead right - the image on the poster has been treated in the same way as the Juno title sequence.

By the way, thanks for dropping by - I've been enjoying your blog for a while.