Following the heavy main course that was 2008’s
Revolutionary Road this is Sam Mendes’s light dessert from 2009. Away We Go is a feel good tale of a couple in their thirties (Maya Rudolph and John Krasinski) travelling around North America looking for somewhere to put down roots. Here’s the kicker: she is six months pregnant with their first child. They visit friends and family in different locales, searching for inspiration as to where to raise a family. Rudolph and Krasinski make a cute couple but their nearest and dearest (mostly) turn out to be vile. The results are comical but the film does possess a strong dramatic bent. It manages to entertain (chiefly through laughs) while maintaining realism and authenticity.
Real life couple (Vendela Vida and Dave Eggers) have written a warm and funny first script and it’s a splendid debut. Sam Mendes displays further versatility as a director. (To emphasise this point, next up for him: Bond 23!) He shows a playfulness we’ve not yet seen him reveal. (While American Beauty is funny it does have an ever-present sense of impending doom.) He also has a very good eye – every shot is thoughtfully worked out and there are some very attractive visuals of that most cinematic of countries.
It’s a perfect film to watch curled up on the sofa with someone you love (as I did with the fragrant Ms. G). It’s also an easy film for both him and her to agree on watching. So put aside Death Commandos 2: Munitions Boogaloo, and there’s always another time to watch Failure to Launch a Wedding Planner in Ten Days. The message here is togetherness so follow its lead and watch it together.