Review: Away We Go


Having a baby is a scary experience, especially when you realize your house is not really your home.

Burt (John Krasinski) and Verona (Maya Rudolph) are going to be unplanned parents. The figured they could handle it with the help of Burt's parents (Jeff Daniels and Catherine O’Hara), but three months before the birth they decide to move to Belgium. With no other ties to their current location, they travel cross-country seeking a place to which they can belong. Although all their visits are enlightening, not all of them are pleasant. The worst are Verona's ex-boss (Allison Janney) in Arizona who doesn't believe in censoring herself in front of her children and Burt's childhood friend (Maggie Gyllenhaal) who prefers an alternative style of child-rearing that doesn't involve strollers. In between, they visit Verona's fabulous, loving sister (Carmen Ejogo) who represents a more unsettled version of Verona. Then there's their college friends (Chris Messina and Melanie Lynskey) who live in a Montreal townhouse filled with love and adopted kids, which turns out to be more tragic than appearances let on. Finally, they make an unplanned trip to a home that's fallen apart. It's there they conclude home is wherever they decide to put down roots.

Their journey doubles as an exhibition of parenting styles, challenges and benefits. The displays are offensive, humorous, absurd, inspiring, heartbreaking, illuminating and much more, often at the same time. When connecting and comparing the vignettes, there are so many observations to be made about parents, raising kids and the amazing experience people miss by choice or chance. These feelings come to a head near the end of Burt and Verona's Montreal trip, during a devastatingly emotional scene centred on an extraordinary performance by Lynskey.

Krasinski and Rudolph fit their roles perfectly. The Office's Jim Halpert plays a bit of a goof that knows enough about everything to get by. He’s entirely lovable and devoted to Verona. His better half is more put together and stubborn (she still won't marry him). They complement each other so well and realistically, it gives the film the exact sincerity it requires to succeed.

Sam Mendes is an incredible director whose true talent lies in capturing lifelike emotion on celluloid. He most recently displayed his gift in Revolutionary Road and first in American Beauty. But where the Revolutionary Road couple yearned for escape and self-discovery, Burt and Verona actually achieve it. Mendes also made a wonderful choice to fill the film with Alexi Murdoch’s beautiful compositions.

Away We Go is the ultimate feel good movie. You'll definitely laugh, you may even cry but you'll walk away with genuine warm fuzzies.

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