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The Statesman

The Student News Site of Stony Brook University

The Statesman


    There’s No Place Like Home

    In ‘Away We Go,’ Director Sam Mendes (Revolutionary Road) takes a turn away from unhappy couples and puts a happy couple front and center.

    In the film, John Krasinski (The Office) plays Burt Farlander, a college dropout who works over the phone on insurance futures. His long-time partner, Verona De Tessant, played by SNL alum Maya Rudolph, is an anatomy illustrator.

    The film opens when Verona realizes she is pregnant. The couple is ecstatic and’ living near Burt’s parents. They hope that the Farlanders (played by the excellent Catherine O’Hara and Jeff Daniels) will be around to help them out once the baby is born. However, the Farlanders have their own news: they are moving to Holland for two years and won’t even be around when the baby is born.

    Now six months pregnant, Vanessa suggests that, untethered as they are in the world, she and Burt might move anywhere. Thus begins the odyssey of the film: to find the perfect place to raise their child-to find a real home.

    The couple sets off on a journey around the United States and Canada, visiting places where they have friends or family.

    Their trip to Phoenix is dominated by the comic talents of Allison Janney (Juno) and stand-up comic Jim Gaffigan, who play a former co-worker and her husband who are evidently not in the happiest of marriages. Maggie Gyllenhaal (The Dark Knight) also makes a humorous cameo as a hippie-bourgeois college professor living in Madison, WI, who still breast-feeds her 18-month old sons and doesn’t believe in strollers.

    However, not all the film is so light and fluffy. Amidst the humorous caricatures appear other characters, whose problems dwarf those of Burt and Verona’s. Friends in Montreal, played by Chris Messina (Julie & Julia) and Melanie Lynskey (The Informant!), cannot have their own biological children, while Burt’s brother in Miami (played by Paul Schneider of Parks and Recreation) deals with the fact that his wife has left him.

    Throughout the film, Verona must come to terms with the death of her parents ten years earlier, when she was in college.

    Over the course of Away We Go, Burt and Vanessa try to imagine what it means to have a home and be a family. Though they have moments of break-down, the film never truly drops into melancholy. Instead, the couple resolve their issues through dialogue and humor.

    Away We Go is a realistic portrayal of a couple that loves each other deeply, that is just as confused about parenthood and how to bring up a family as any other couple of first-time parents.

    Unlike the high-drama of a film like Revolutionary Road or the exaggerated hijinks of pregnancy movies like Baby Mama or Knocked Up, Away We Go is heartfelt, funny and moving all at the same time. Rounded out by an amazing cast, the film is the sleeper hit of the season.’

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