Away We Go
What parents need to know
Parents Need to Know
Parents need to know that older teens may be intrigued by this indie drama because of star John Krasinski and writers Dave Eggers and Vendela Vida. Its unvarnished look at different types of parenting, though exaggerated for cinematic effect, hits home and could very well prompt some internal analysis. Expect a range of strong language (including "s--t" and "f--k"), some sexuality (including a glimpse of a bare breast), and social drinking.
What's the story?
Unmarried but decidedly committed to each other, 33-year-old Verona (Maya Rudolph) and Burt (John Krasinski) learn they're having a baby, a discovery that sends them on a journey to a handful of cities to find out where they ought to settle down and raise their family. Their travels take them to Arizona, Wisconsin, Florida, and Canada, where acquaintances, friends, and relatives live. The visits are memorable for the catastrophes that Burt and Verona encounter, churning up worries both geographic and existential: Which is the best place to live and, more importantly, just what kind of parents will they become?
Is it any good?
Put it this way: It sure takes a long time for AWAY WE GO to get anywhere, but once there, the full impact of its storyline hits you behind the knees. Director Sam Mendes, who frames his scenes beautifully, meanders, and consequently, the film can grate like a too-long road trip. But, just like most long car rides, the destination feels worthy of all the trouble it took to get there, even if it doesn't erase it altogether.
Written by novelist Dave Eggers and his wife/fellow writer, Vendela Vida, the script feels fresh and new, stripped of the usual mileposts (the caricatures, the not-so-surprising twists). The actors do their work justice: Maggie Gyllenhaal is hilarious as an Earth mother far too earthy for her own good, and Krasinski is a lovable, slightly lost teddy bear of a boyfriend, wonderfully giving and sometimes inept. But the film is all Rudolph's. A comic veteran of Saturday Night Live, she's surprisingly potent in a drama; when the camera lingers on her, the worry is palpable. And when she gets her heartening ending, it's hard not to care.
Families can talk about...
Families can talk about the movie's messages about parenthood. How is this movie different from typical movies that take on the issue of parenting? Does it have any definitive answers about what makes someone a good or bad parent?
What are Bur tand Verona's worries about parenthood? Does all their fretting make them seem like they’ll actually be great parents -- or just neurotic?