Away We Go (15)

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The ViewBirmingham Review

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Review byMatthew Turner17/09/2009

Four out of Five stars
Running time: 94 mins

Enjoyable, impressively directed and superbly acted comedy-drama with a sharply written script that's both darkly funny and surprisingly moving.

What's it all about?
Directed by Sam Mendes, from a script by Vendela Vida and Dave Eggers, Away We Go stars John Krasinski and Maya Rudolph as thirty-something couple Burt and Verona, who find themselves unexpectedly pregnant with their first child. When Burt's parents (Catherine O'Hara and Jeff Daniels), who live nearby, announce that they're moving to Belgium, Burt and Verona realise that there's no longer anything tying them to where they live, so they take a road trip in order to decide where they should raise their imminent child.

Their trip duly takes them to Phoenix, Tucson, Madison, Montreal and finally Miami, where Burt receives an urgent call from his brother (Paul Schneider). Along the way they visit Verona's sister (Carmen Ejogo) and several friends (including Maggie Gyllenhaal, Allison Janney and Melanie Lynskey), all of whom seem to have vastly different parenting styles.

The Good
Sam Mendes seems perfectly suited to the material (perhaps because of his own experience of raising kids in two continents) and he maintains a suitably ramshackle indie-road-movie vibe throughout, aided by an eclectic soundtrack and an effective use of chunkily-titled chapter headings (Away to Phoenix, Away to Tucson and so on).

John Krasinski and Maya Rudolph are both superb, creating a believable and engaging relationship that you instinctively root for. There's also a series of brilliantly cast cameos that range from the hilarious (Allison Janney, Jim Gaffigan) to the unexpectedly moving (serial adopters Melanie Lynskey and Chris Messina) to the utterly excruciating (Maggie Gyllenhaal).

The Great
The script crackles with great lines and there are some lovely running gags (for example, Burt's fake arguments in reaction to Verona complaining that he never loses his temper), and Mendes demonstrates an unexpected gift for comedy, notably during a hilarious sequence involving a child's stroller.

Worth seeing?
Away We Go is an impressively directed, sharply written and superbly acted comedy-drama that's both emotionally engaging and laugh-out-loud funny. There’s a lovely final shot, too. Highly recommended.
Away We Go - DVD Trailer

Film Trailer

Away We Go (15)
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Content updated: 21/11/2017 17:28

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