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The Cinematic Katzenjammer: Aug 3: Away We Go


Aug 3: Away We Go

"A couple who is expecting their first child travel around the U.S. in order to find a perfect place to start their family. Along the way, they have misadventures and find fresh connections with an assortment of relatives and old friends who just might help them discover "home" on their own terms for the first time."
Directed: Sam Mendes, Rated: R, 98 minutes 

Away We Go is a movie that grows on you. At first, the film settles in your heart as you can clearly tell the film's an endearing little road trip flick. After time, and multiple viewings, you begin to appreciate the film's subtleness and humor much more and really start loving it. It's a flawed film, yes, as it can jump from incredibly funny to not-at-all-funny depressing in a heartbeat, leaving you more dazed than entertained, but it's too charming to not forgive. It's also easy to ignore when the film features two of the most likable people in the world, John Krasinski and Maya Rudolph. The two have perfect chemistry and their relationship makes Away We Go much more memorable than your average romantic romp. 

Away We Go follows Burt (Krasinski) and Verona, two people madly in love and expecting a child. Verona never wants to get married, but the two are clearly committed to one another and want to find the perfect place to start a family. As they have their own relatives and friends scattered across the country, the couple make their way through Arizona, Wisconsin, Miami and make their way to Canada. On their journey, the two begin to realize what kind of parents they want to be, taking the best and the worst of the other couples they're visiting and knowing who to stay away from when they finally decide to settle down. The film has a great premise and the execution is near pitch-perfect. Away We Go hides the fact that the film is indeed a road-trip movie gracefully, never focusing on the borrow intricies of traveling and instead puts the spotlight on each episode that plays out in each destination. It's a series of events strung together very well, in a peaceful, yet playful way. 

His songs are perfect road trip music... but also fit for a funeral or a divorce party (those exist, right?). 

Sam Mendes directed Away We Go and it's a huge change of pace and style from his earlier work (Jardhead, American Beauty, Road to Perdition). The movie is slow and steady, but still is able to delve into some of the similar themes his movies have explored, such as the power of family and the "existential" search for meaning in life. All of the emotional impact is heightened by a magnificent soundtrack by Alexi Murdoch, whose songs add so much to the film. Away We Go is very reminiscent of Garden State in this fact, as it would not be the same without the songs being included. 

No perfect Portman, however. 

I would highly recommend Away We Go. While it's not perfect, it's close. It's easy to understand how some people may not like the film, as the two main characters are a little arrogant at times, but Krasinski and Rudolph are too damn likable to hate. The two leads show great range in their ability (as they are mostly known for comedy, their dramatic turns are a pleasant surprise). It's also hard to deny the fact that the two work so well together and you can't help but wonder if they're really in love. Away We Go will leave you smiling and wondering about those close to you and realizing how powerful a simple thing like love can be. 

The Good:
John Krasinski and Maya Rudolph making the movie their own little adventure, with a great soundtrack and a smart script
The Bad:
while the script is solid, it has a few pacing problems that leave you emotionally confused, laughing and then almost crying the next moment
The Ugly:
the film leaves you thinking about your own life and the place you're in right now, which to some may be a good thing but to others a more complex moment of reflection

Overall: 7.9/10


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