Rajeev Masand – movies that matter : from bollywood, hollywood and everywhere else

September 25, 2009

Happy homecoming

Filed under: Their Films — Rajeev @ 12:44 pm

September 25, 2009

Cast: John Krasinski, Maya Rudolph, Allison Janney, Maggie Gylenhaal

Director: Sam Mendes

Away We Go, directed by Sam Mendes is a sweet little film about a happy but more-or-less unprepared couple awaiting the birth of their first child. John Krasinski and Maya Rudolph star as Burt and Verona, unmarried thirty somethings who’ve settled down within a short distance of Burt’s parents, only to discover that the selfish grandparents-to-be are selling the house and relocating to Belgium.

No reason for Burt and Verona to live in Colorado anymore, so they decide to go on a tour of friends and relatives across North America, in search of the perfect place to raise their unborn kid.

A delicate balance between a comedy and a poignant drama, Away We Go is structured as a road movie, with much of the film’s charm derived from the chemistry between the leads who learn important life-lessons at every stop they make.

There are laughs to be had from such caricaturish but comical characters as the loud-mouthed monster-mother (played by Allison Janney) and her understandably dysfunctional family in Arizona, and the New Age feminist academic (played by Maggie Gylenhaal) and her similarly self-righteous husband in Wisconsin.

It’s the sentimental interludes that stick out it in this film – like that silly scene in Tuscon between Verona and her sister in a bathtub, in which we learn that she hasn’t yet come to terms with her parents’ death. Or that scene in a Montreal nightclub in which their friends, a seemingly perfect couple, reveal to Burt and Verona the chink in their otherwise perfect lives.

In the end though, the film is a warm, old-fashioned morality tale about the importance of family and home; about raising one’s kids in this mad, mad world, and about expressing your feelings.

I’m going with three out of five for Away We Go; it’s a good film about good people. Not nearly as smart as the director’s previous films – Revolutionary Road and American Beauty, which dealt with the breakdown of the American family – but an inspiring and engaging watch nonetheless.

Watch it at after a long, tiring day at work; you’ll find it’s inherently comforting.

(This review first aired on CNN-IBN)

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