Opening Night Gala / International premiere

Away We Go

  • Sam Mendes /
  • USA, UK /
  • 2009 /
  • 94 mins

John Krasinski, Maya Rudolph, Maggie Gyllenhaal, Allison Janney, Jeff Daniels, Catherine O'Hara / Fiction / English

A delightful, poignant and darkly funny take on the challenges of making a modern family…

A deft blend of road movie, smarter-than-average comedy and thirtysomething love story, Away We Go marks a delightful departure for the Oscar®-winning heavyweight Sam Mendes (American Beauty; Road to Perdition; Revolutionary Road) – and an elegant screenwriting debut by the highly acclaimed novelists Dave Eggers and Vendela Vida. TV superstars Maya Rudolph (Saturday Night Live) and John Krasinski (The Office) play slightly shambolic married couple Verona and Burt, who are happily expecting but can’t decide where to raise their increasingly imminent infant. Both partners are classic overgrown adolescents: shabby at the edges, used to their own way, and not committed to very much except each other. Only John’s eccentric parents (hilariously embodied by Catherine O’Hara and Jeff Daniels) provide any concrete reason to remain where they’re living in Colorado. So when the grandparents-to-be announce an impromptu move to Belgium, Burt and Verona take the cue to reassess their own geographical arrangements. Since their jobs are flexible, the world is their oyster: so just where is best to raise a child these days? With friends beckoning them from all corners of the States, they take off on a road trip to try out some potential nesting spots. An incident-packed jaunt ensues, as they check out new cities and catch up with some old friends – who tend, as old friends will, not to be quite as remembered. There’s Verona’s former colleague Lily (Alison Janney), in Phoenix, who’s all too keen to share information about the stickier side of parenthood. There’s Burt’s Wisconsinbased cousin LN (Maggie Gyllenhaal), who is full of overbearing earth mother dogma. And then there are the old classmates in Montreal who give Burt and Verona a chastening reminder of just how complicated family life can get… Exquisitely shot by Ellen Kuras (Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind) and with superb original songs by Alexi Murdoch, this chronicle of late-onset growing up is both sharp and moving – a superb balance of warmth, wit and cutting commentary upon some of the world’s best and worst approaches to parenthood. Most impressive of all is the construction by Krasinski and Rudolph of a central couple who feel absolutely real – not kooky indie wackjobs, not perfectly groomed romcom robots, but flawed, intelligent, funny people with their own histories and hopes.

2009 Archive

Image from Away We Go

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  • #1 Paul Laird / Friday 19 June, 2009 / 19:17 GMT

    In January of this year I found myself single.



    After ten years "me and her" had become "me" and "her".

    At that point I went to see Sam Mendes "Revolutionary Road".

    Art as a mirror for real life.

    All the hurt, the heartache, the infidelity, the lies, the was my life and my experience writ large and in glorious technicolour.

    Fast forward six months and I'm watching Mendes latest "Away We Go".

    It's uplifting, amusing, bright, light and hopefull. The message this time around is that love can work, that there are other people who can love us just as much as we love them, that despite the myriad dysfunctional relationships it doesn't have to be that way.

    My own circumstances reflect those in this film...things are brighter and lighter. Mendes has given me two films this year that perfectly capture my life; I don't know how "good" either film is, I'm not a critic, but what I do know is that in "Away We Go" he has captured the best of times after the worst of times.

  • #2 Leona Campbell / Friday 19 June, 2009 / 22:47 GMT

    This is a really wonderful movie. It has a real romance feel to it without any of the cliche's everyone is used to seeing and both the leads are compelling viewing (as is all of the supporting cast). I personally laughed out loud numerous times and thought this was the perfect film to kick off the fest and will definitley return for a 2nd viewing when it's on general release.

    You really can't miss this movie - it has such moving and funny moments that capture real life aspects that are enhanced for the purposes of cinema but have a real true feel to them all.

    GO SEE IT!
  • #3 C Miller / Monday 22 June, 2009 / 20:22 GMT

    Happy go lucky, a bit cheesy, (quite rude) but ultimately enjoyable 30something romp through a snapshot of some funny characters in the middle of varying degrees of conflict. Some excellent laugh out loud moments. Not a romantic comedy, but both funny and romantic. This film has a feel good factor so high it would stop you from being sunburnt on a summers day.
  • #4 Marion Grassie / Monday 22 June, 2009 / 21:34 GMT

    As an EIFF competition winner, I was fortunate enough to see this at the private screening on Wed 17th. Introduced in person by director Sam Mendes, the film was an enjoyable, gentle comedy. The 2 main characters were (to me) relative unknowns but played very likeable characters who the audience could actually care about. Most of the comedy came from the assorted eccentric and downright bizarre friends & relatives they met up with on their travels, some better-known faces among them. An easy-to-watch, pleasant evening's viewing. I would highly recommend going to see it!
    Sadly, although OH & myself were at the show, on the red carpet and at the after show party, we were clearly neither famous nor photogenic enough for our pictures (they were taken) to end up on the festival website! ;) Enjoyed my prize immensely, nevertheless.

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