Friday, 18 September 2009

Away We Go - Review

After a producing a striking and engaging period drama earlier in the year, that dominated the award season, Sam Mendes takes time out from working with the wife on Oscar titans and opts for a slightly more reflecting and uplifting feature. Away We Go, stars John Krasinski (from USA TV's The Office), in his first major leading role along side the charming, indie comedian Maya Rudolph, as they embark on a soul-searching journey across the USA and Canada in search of a home for themselves and their expecting child.

Full of traditional quirks that are usually associated with this kind of film, Away We Go gives the audience something that has been absent from the big screen for a few months, and rarely seen at all this year; heart. The two leads produce a beautiful chemistry that looks and feels completely natural on screen, which coincidentally mirrors the entire backdrop of the feature where Mendes produces some stunning cinematography on both a grand and intimate scale. Unlike similar films this year that have fell into the same category, like Sunshine Cleaning or Funny People, you actually feel like the main characters lives have completely been transformed from the events within the film.

One of the biggest compliments I can give to this film is that it never once takes away from the wonderful performances of every actor within the story, there was not a single bad one in the pack, Rudolph and Krasinski are backed up by the hilarious supporting appearances of Catherine O'Hara and Jeff Daniels as the eccentric parents of Krasinski as well as West Wing's Allison Janney and the beautiful, scene stealing Maggie Gyllenhaal invoking some of her more insane quirks similar to her career defining stint in Secretary. A film arguably can only be as thought provoking and life affirming as the soundtrack that it is set against, and Away We Go probably has one of the best this year, composed almost entirely of songs from British singer songwriter Alexi Murdoch (I'm listening to it as I type, glorious. Simply glorious). Perhaps my only grievances with the film was that I did not see how these two rather mellow and perfectly sane people would be associated with some of the absolutely outrageous personalties they encounter on their travels but that does not take away from the fact I actually found myself laughing out loud more in this than I had in other films in the comedy genre this year. Also upon the film's conclusion, one would think why they did not just skip all the madness and just go straight to the location they found themselves in, in the first place? But where is the fun in that.

Final Thoughts
A touching tale of two people's search for a home that they can say is truly theirs. Though the formula has been seen many times before, its rarely been performed with such elegance than how Mendes has executed it in Away We Go. With a beautiful soundtrack and wonderful life-affirming performances from the entire ensemble. Hilarious, eccentric, folky and uplifting. A shining light to begin the Autumnal season for films. Also how can you not see a film with a poster that amazing looking really?


See This If You Like...
Garden State, Once, most Wes Anderson films.

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