Posts Tagged: Away We Go


Finally, here is my own reason for liking the film (and including it in the season, of course).

Among all the films considered by this selection, Away we go is perhaps the most explicit in thematising the journey as a metaphor for a generational effort to re-assess their place in the world. Disappointed by the selfish behaviour of Burt’s parents, the young couple put themselves on the road out of responsibility, as it were, towards their unborn child.

The initial hints to their professional failures take on a broader symbolic meaning: these characters did not ‘make it’ in the real world because, essentially, they do not believe in the world-view that has been passed on to them. They perceive a lack of something in it, which they refuse to accept as their own. Disappointed and betrayed by the values of their parents, the characters set out to look for a new identity and a new ‘happiness’.

With a circular gesture, however, Away We Go discards the various options the two find on their way, and ultimately suggests a return to an idyllic ‘American’ past. But there again, idyllic rhymes with fairy-like, essentially unreal. I might be stretching things a bit, but I do not see much of a difference between McCandleless’ retreat into the wilderness and this couple’s journey. In both cases, these characters end up escaping from ‘grown-up’ social and historical reality, to seek refuge in some sort of mythological ‘beyond’.

Any thoughts?

— p.


Away We Go belongs to that branch of the road movie in which characters examine their pasts to confront present dilemmas, like the doctor driving across Sweden in Bergman’s Wild Strawberries and the ageing couple visiting their scattered children in Ozu’s Tokyo Story, or that series of American pictures coming out of Julien Duvivier’s 1937 Un carnet du bal, most recently, Jim Jarmusch’s Broken Flowers, in which the main characters trace old friends and relations.

[…] This is a slick, occasionally smug, at times overplayed and frequently very funny film, and the production designer, Jess Gonchor, and the cinematographer, Ellen Kuras, have combined to give a distinctive regional look to each episode. The film works through striking scenes and splendid moments, rather than as a continuous whole. It begins, for instance, with an extraordinary pre-credit sequence in which while engaged in cunnilingus Burt can taste that Verona is pregnant. This sounds like something out of a film from Judd Apatow or the Farrelly brothers (and indeed Burt’s father is played by that fine character actor Jeff Daniels, who made an uncharacteristic appearance in Dumb and Dumber), but it is, in fact, oddly touching as well as funny.

Philip Fresh, Away We Go (review), The Observer, 20 September 2009

Source: Guardian

Hello there, and welcome to another rainy Monday in Scotland. Last week has been kind of hectic, which explain the long whooshing silence between this and the previous post. But oh, well. Better late than never, they say.

So, first all all, let me thank those of you who made it to the screening last Tuesday. I was not there, alas, but I have been informed by reliable sources that the turnout was encouraging and the overall screening a marked success. Thumbs up, and heart-felt thanks.

Now, as the third screening approaches, let me catch up with the criticism about Away We Go. By the way, the film is one of my personal favourites in this selection, so I really hope you liked it. Unlike Mr Bradshaw, who - for once - just did not get it. It doesn’t matter anyway, as he is a good critic, as demonstrated by the fact that even when he doesn’t get the film, he still has interesting things to say. Here you go:

Away We Go, directed by Sam Mendes, looks sometimes more like a series of provisional sketches for a movie, rather than the finished article, but there is an interesting idea at its heart. John Krasinski (best known for the American version of The Office) and Maya Rudolph play Burt and Verona, a couple in their 30s who have been together for a long time, and who are perhaps frozen, mentally, in the studenty-slackery twentysomethingness they shared when they first met.

[…] Everything about their lives appears ramshackle, temporary. They live in what appears to be a mobile home,  near Burt’s parents, and when Verona gets pregnant, they hope that his mom and dad will help out. But these parents, played by Catherine O’Hara and Jeff Daniels, turn out to be even more flakey and dippy than Burt and Verona. They propose to take off for a long-planned trip to Antwerp, of all places, one month   before the baby is due, thus signalling their essential indifference, and ineligibility for the traditional roles of doting grandparents.

Dave Bradshaw, Away We Go (review), The Guardian, 17 September 2009.

Source: Guardian

So well, it looks like I am not going to make it to the screening tonight. I am awfully sorry; but - on the bright side - Raluca and Bea will be there, making for a much more interesting company.

On top of that, I wrote a short blurb that may or may not be read before the screening, so I might be there in spirit, after all. At any rate, I wish you all a lovely screening, and I shall see everybody next Tuesday (hopefully).

Until then, another musical treat to get the hype machine started. This time, courtesy of the very distinguished Mr Murdoch.

— pc


Alexi Murdoch - Wait

(via gorramtimebomb-deactivated20130)

Source: SoundCloud / singdelilahsing
  • Burt: “Do you promise to let our daughter be fat or skinny or any weight at all? Because we want her to be happy, no matter what. Being obsessed with weight is just too cliché for our daughter.”
  • Verona: “Yes, I do. Do you promise, when she talks, you’ll listen? Like, really listen, especially when she’s scared? And that her fights will be your fights?”
  • Burt: “I do. And do you promise that if I die some embarrassing and boring death that you’re gonna tell our daughter that her father was killed by Russian soldiers in this intense hand-to-hand combat in an attempt to save the lives of 850 Chechnyan orphans?”
  • Verona: “I do.”
Source: leighlee
Photo Set


Away We Go, 2009 (dir. Sam Mendes)

Yes, indeed.

- pc

Source: film-shots

The Road at the Time of the Crisis | screening two
curated by pasqualecicchetti

Director: Sam Mendes
Country: USA
Language: English
Duration: 98 min
Year: 2009
Age restrictions: 15

Written by real-life partners Dave Eggers – also a celebrated novelist – and Vendela Vida, Away We Go tells the tale of a couple who takes the road in search of a new home.

Burt and Verona are in their early thirties. Moderately unhappy about their jobs and averagely insecure about pretty much everything, the two love each other sincerely, and their relationship keeps them afloat. When they find out that they will soon become parents, however, things begin to change. The news prompt the two to take control of their lives and get on the road, in order to find the right place to raise their child and live more fulfilling existences. In the process, they cross the entire country, they learn to appreciate the value of their feelings, and end up setting up home in a very unexpected place.

Making the most of Egger’s distinctive style, Mendes gives a compelling generational twist to the road genre. Burt and Verona’s decision to start anew is nothing like a gesture of challenge: caught up in their own uncertainties, the two characters embark on their journey with a blend of self-conscious irony and vulnerability which strikes movingly true. Accompanied by the quiet, sun-drenched vibes of Alexi Murdoch's soundtrack, the film opened at the Edinburgh International Film Festival in 2009 and went on to receive wide critical acclaim.

— pc

Date and time of event: 18/09/2012, 9pm.
Ticket Prices: £6 (£5 Students) £16 ‘The Road at the Time of Crisis’ season ticket
Venue: The Byre Theatre of St Andrews, Abbey St, St Andrews, Fife, KY16 9LA
t: 01334 475000
f: 01334 475370

Buy tickets here.