Away We Go (2009) – 4.5/5
One thing that always tells me I liked a movie is when I’m thinking and analyzing it for days following.
I like how this movie builds as it goes. At first I was a bit worried, but it built.
I can’t say much w/o spoiling it so…
The characters in this movie get pregnant and find that his parents, who they moved to live near, are moving out of the country. Finding themselves “untethered” they embark on a journey to decide where they want to live and by whom.
First they go to Phoenix to visit her sister and her old boss. Her sister is great, but has a small/short role. It’s mostly to establish Verona’s relationship w/ her and regarding her deceased parents.
Her old boss’s family is a picture of a dejected couple living day-to-day w/o caring about anything or anyone including their own family/kids. Wisely, they run pretty fast to get away from there. They don’t want to wind up like them… or near them.
A lot of the relationship of Burt and Verona is trying to figure out if they are losers and how are they going to wind up. They see a loveless, lifeless life in the first couple they visit as we all do.
Another thing I like about this movie is that though we can see the faults easily in their other couples, any cliche about who they are is avoided for the most part. We aren’t really spoon fed.
The second couple are ultimate tree-hugger liberals who are offensively opinionated and judgmental. You can’t really say they aren’t loving or aren’t good parents (though they are IMO), but they are abrasive and condescending. It’s easy to see why Burt and Verona run from them also… literally. And while they are somewhat cliche, they’re also a somewhat real couple, I’d say, or at least a true cliche.
The next couple is in Montreal and immediately they want to live there… and near this couple. The couple has several adopted children and we found out later they have just had their 5th miscarriage and are broken hearted though they’ve hidden it from the kids and others. It only comes out about the miscarriage later b/c of events and probably wdn’t have otherwise.
It’s a great device they use to introduce this when they stop “The Sound of Music” when the kids are watching it – they don’t show them the “Nazi part” trying to shelter them from the pain. I can understand that and don’t really disagree w/ it since the kids are young. I’d probably prefer to just not show them the movie until their older, but the way they do it is a great device.
It isn’t apparent why they eventually decide not to move there, but it also isn’t really necessary b/c of two things: their next trip and their eventual decision.
The next trip is to visit Burt’s brother b/c the brother’s wife leaves him and their daughter abruptly. It’s a really powerful dialog about the extreme effects her leaving creates: the effects on the husband but more so on the daughter. It’s a great view into this aspect of leaving. It’s hard to watch and hear, but nothing compared to the rest of their lives.
It effects Burt and Verona too as we see them coping w/ the possibly or at least fear of the same thing happening to them. Verona refuses to marry Burt, but they have a sort of “wedding” there on the trampoline where they exchange “vows” of sort w/ each other. Again, great device and great dialog.
The next morning, Verona pretty much makes the movie w/ her stories from childhood. She’s avoided talking about her parents and their life together w/ everyone and then she opens up and it’s powerful in every way. Such an emotional picture of a sweet childhood.
Their decision of where they move is perfect… hopefully. It’s a bit of a surprise (or at least it was to me) though it sdn’t be. And now the lack of dialog is what’s moving.
I think this movie is great in the way it doesn’t lead the viewer into how we sd react and such…. well, not exactly. I felt I agreed w/ what they were telling me, but in a sense cdn’t pin point the reasons right off (don’t get me wrong, the first 2 couples especially were offensive and maybe that’s why I say this movie builds).
Mainly b/c I cdn’t say exactly what was wrong w/ the 3rd couple, I didn’t see why they chose not to move there, but again, their final choice makes the others all clearly “wrong” choices.
I didn’t love it at the time, but now I love the ending where Burt, ever the optimist, believes it’s perfect for them, and Verona’s response is that she hopes so. That really grew on me that she has hope and wants it to be the best thing for them.
I actually hoped to like this movie more, but it’s still great IMO.