Away We Go
Cast: Maya Rudolph, John Krasinski
Direction: Sam Mendes
Sam Mendes’s brilliant follow-up to Revolutionary Road is filled with the quirky, quixotic characters that have been a hallmark of his work. Certainly among the more meaningful films from Hollywood in recent years, Away We Go probes the plight of an expectant young couple.
The script by the acclaimed novelists, Dave Eggers and Vendela Vida, revolves around a grumpy insurance salesman and his introspective girlfriend. Three months away from the birth of their first child, the unmarried couple (Krasinski-Rudolph) embarks on a cross-country trip. They’re searching for a new home in which to raise the baby.
Their predicament will be familiar to anyone who has ever struggled to find a perfect place to anchor a family. Wending through Phoenix to Montreal and Miami, the parents-to-be meet former friends and relatives. They discover that even the most successful of marriages can be fraught with discontent.
Towards the end of their odyssey, the couple promises each other that they will not care if their daughter turns out to be thin or fat, looks pretty or plain. What their child — any child — really needs is the gift of love.
Uncompromisingly off the beaten track, the film is infused with magical moments such as the shot of an airplane refracted in the façade of a glass-fronted high-rise.
With his painterly eye for compositions, a measured sense of rhythm and a ear tuned to the cadences of everyday speech, Mendes draws us close to the hearts and minds of the protagonists. The over-busy background music score includes snatches of songs by Alexi Murdoch, The Velvet Underground and Bob Dylan.
In performances as poignant as they are lifelike, Maya Rudolph and John Krasinski are outstanding. Maggie Gyllenhaal as a kooky feminist and Carmen Ejogo as the pregnant woman’s sister stand out among the large cameo-driven cast.
Away We Go is well worth the trip.