If Sam Peckinpah was alive and made a romantic comedy, I believe it would be Away We Go. This movie is a gratuitous and real look at the many types of couples (married or otherwise) which exist in our nearly socially inept society. It’s easy to know where the story is going, yet still so raw and unforced. Granted, the end of the film feels a little too much like Great Expectations, but the rest of it could be pure seventies American independent cinema, if it weren’t for the modern references. It’s a smart, funny, powerful film that director Sam Mendes should feel accomplished because of, certainly more so than that over-hyped, one-hit wonder American Beauty.
I don’t generally read other critics reviews (at least not until I’ve put mine out in the ether), but I noticed in the Wikipedia article on the film a comment the New York Times critic A.O. Scott made about the film, which I wholeheartedly disagree with. It says the main characters are self-righteous people “aware of their special status as uniquely sensitive, caring, smart and cool beings on a planet full of cretins and failures.” Now, I didn’t find these un-virtuous traits in the characters at all. Maybe its because I am sensitive, caring, smart and cool? (well, I think I’m cool anyway). I mean what the fuck Scott? Seriously? Krasinski’s character is in absolutely no way cool. In fact, one might go so far as to say he’s playing the antithesis of cool. Quite frankly, he doesn’t seem that bright either.
What he and his wife do appear to be is extremely nurturing and caring and cognizant of the cretins around them – and yes, there is cretins in the world. Why is it so wrong for them to want to find the best place to bring up their baby? Why is is so unfathomable that there would be two people out there who aren’t interested in going to nightclubs, drinking, gambling, etc., and instead are just concerned with the family which they’re about to raise? Why is it so horrible that two people in this world might reject the need for other (what they perceive as) negative influences in their lives, and might actually be so content with each other that they’ll never truly need anyone else to make them feel alive or important?
They never once expressed thoughts to their friends that they were better than them, they just don’t need to associate themselves with those types of individuals on a regular basis. I, for one, am glad to see a film that is not afraid to point fingers at the insecurities and depravities of people. This is truly a character study on a variety of personality types. It’s a road movie that takes place in living rooms across the country, and even though some of them may be living rooms that are familiar to you, some of them you’ll be looking for the door.