The story of a couple traveling around the country in search of a place to live before their baby is born, Away We Go is a very sweet film and a very nice surprise. Written by Dave Eggers (A Heartbreaking Work of Staggering Genius) and his wife, Vendela Vida, directed by Sam Mendes (Revolutionary Road), and starring The Office‘s John Krasinski and Saturday Night Live‘s Maya Rudolph, it’s filled with enough quirky characters to fill a few independent films, and it defies a bit of logic (for example, how this couple that is just barely scraping by is able to afford cross-country travel), but it has so much heart and so many laughs, and the acting by Krasinski and Rudolph is so unexpectedly tender and good, that you can suspend your disbelief pretty easily.
Calling Away We Go simple is not meant as a put-down. This is a film where the central couple does not have any wild fluctuations in mood or status; they begin the film as a couple and they remain a couple throughout (something Eggers, Krasinski, and Rudolph discussed with pride when I saw the film on Sunday).
When his parents (the delightfully kooky Catherine O’Hara and Jeff Daniels) announce they’re moving to Belgium a month before their grandchild is born, Burt and Verona realize they can now live anywhere they want, so they set off for the ideal place to raise their child. Along the way, they spend not-so-quality time with some less-than-ideal parental role models, and they make some important realizations about their own relationship.
Is the place where Burt and Verona settle really that important, or is it just a matter of them reaching that place together? In Away We Go, the journey is more important than the destination, and watching Krasinski and Rudolph negotiate this delicate matter, it’s one that’s worth taking.
I’m giving this film a solid B (and recommending that you download Alexi Murdoch’s beautiful song, “All My Days“).