Sunday, February 2, 2014

AWAY WE GO (2009)

Directed By: Sam Mendes 
Written By: Dave Eggars & Vendela Vida 
Cinemantography By: Ellen Kuras 
Editor: Sarah Flack 

 Cast: Maya Rudolph, John Krasinski, Carmen Ejogo, Catherine O’Hara, Maggie Gyllenhaal, Josh Hamilton, Allison Janney, Jim Gaffigan, Jeff Daniels, Chris Messina, Melanie Lynskey, Paul Schneider

Burt Farlander and Verona De Tessant are a couple steeped in eccentricity and irregularity but are very much in love. So when they find out that Verona is pregnant they seem to be taking it in their stride. Verona is enjoying pregnancy, Burt is already practicing skill that he believes a good father should have, and they living in the same state as Burt's parents, Jerry and Gloria, so that their prospective daughter can have grandparents. However, things are shaken up when Burt and Verona go to dinner at Jerry and Gloria's house, as Burt's parents reveal a surprising piece of news. They have decided to move to Antwerp in Belguim a month before the baby is due, scuppering Burt and Verona's plans of having their children's grandparents around. Because Verona lost her parents when she was relatively young, she finds this news very hard to take, but the resilient couple quickly find a way to turn it in to a positive. It becomes obvious that this is what the pair needed, as they decide to ...

A modern day hipster romance that it might be, Still managed to charm me.

Despite some moments of over the top slapstick and pulling at the heart strings, to me it's a great film.

The film reminds me of the type of personal films of the 1970's. There is a funky eclectic bohemian nomad gypsy spirit in it's blood. While being a character study of not only our two leads but the people they come into contact with, many are over the top and come off less as real people and more like caricature of characters. Like they were created more I the spirit of satire of types you have seen or experienced in your own life. The only one who felt true are her sister, his brother and family. Their friends in Canada

Not that the scenes with those ridiculous characters are not funny. They more lead to screwball comedy antics in the middle of scenes we are supposed to feel poignant or profound. It's a strange combination that works like a jazz tune with moments that go off the track, but adds to the overall tone.

It's interesting watching these two characters go through their journey and have all hear adventures like ill shorts and services where Brandi and Barry go to Hawaii.

This is first Sam Mendes film where Thomas Newman did not compose the original score. Newman has scored every Mendes film since AMERICAN BEAUTY.

Toni Collette dropped out due scheduling conflicts. Maggie Gyllenhaal took over her role.

For all of it's strengths the biggest one is the performance by Maya Rudolph. Who I have always admired on Saturday night live. Here it is nice to see her yeah her potential and shine in another light. In drama rather than her previous incarnation as comedianne. The other cast members are good talented and funny more like they are chewing scenery wanting to be noticed, except John Krasinski who more or less reacts and finally gets a chance to shine in the scenes towards the end.

The reason maybe this film varies to ally is that it was written by two writers novelists Dave Eggars and his wife Vendela Vida So like books the tone can Barry and still make perfect sense. Where as on film it throws you off a little. The visuals and scenes say what the writing and internal dialogue would in a book.

I know a bunch of audiences I saw this film with didn't like it. I wonder if it seems like the movie you Get isn't the one advertised as it is more emotional then the trailer which makes it look more like a comedy.

The way the film plays is like a indie film in a studio scope and dressing.

The opening scene of this film is shocking yet realistic and you think it will be pretentious or end up as a hipster drama. The film ends up being earnest and sovereign. Which it seemed to be punished or by audiences and critics as this film seems to have little snark.

Like a book it seems more concerned with characters then plot and tends to jump around in tone to show that just like life it's unpredictable an there can be comedy in pain. Happiness in tragedy. Uncertainty in pleasure. A simple situation becomes complex. At times the film feels bland and the supporting characters feel all over the place like sitcom characters or like guest stars trying to out do each other and some hurt the film, but the heartwarming performances of the leads make up for it. Only one scene feels manipulative though deep. The dancing scene in Canada. It just feels like it belongs in a different movie maybe one by Martin Scorsese.

Maya Rudolph is so good and powerful in her role that he deserved a best actress nomination. She is the rock of the film.

John Krasinski is a good actor. It just feels like his character is written blandly or is just played that way. No reap room for the role or Character to take shape.

A great companion piece to RESERVATION ROAD. That movie showed ideals tear people apart. This film shows a couple overcoming ideals. The direction is simple, but noteworthy. Feels more like a film set for simple and aristocratic direction.

It's nice that director Sam Mendes choose to do a smaller project then his usual big budget more Hollywood productions. Here he is a little more loose. A chance to experiment more and show his talent as a director and artist with less emphasis on visuals and more on characters and performance.

It's a good offbeat tale with a recognizable cast. The film has great moments and a thorough line to link them. It makes the mundane look beautiful at times.

 Grade: B

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