Manuel Betancourt

Away We Go, or How Mendes + Maya = :D

July 6, 2009 · in Uncategorized

Away We Go
Written By: Dave Eggers & Vendela Vida
Directed By: Sam Mendes
Starring: John Krasinski, Maya Rudolph, Jeff Daniels, Catherine O’Hara, Maggie Gyllenhaal, Alison Janney, Melanie Lynskey… (and the list goes on)

There must be something that Mendes does that I instinctively react to (when, everyone else seems either indifferent or blasé or full-out disappointed). Away We Go, which is basically a bookend of sorts to two of Mendes’ previous works (American Beauty & Revolutionary Road) is a meditation of marriage and parenthood (and wouldn’t that make a great essay worth writing…). Early on we meet Burt and Verona – editor’s note: why must all indie™ characters have quirky names? – one of those ‘fuck up’ couples everywhere who don’t quite have everything figured and decide to roam around the country (Oh, and Canada’s Montreal) to ‘find themselves.’ Okay, so if the setup sounds a bit hokey, it is; but there was something about Mendes’ film that worked for me despite the road-trippy structure and the (at-times over-the-top) acting that populates the film. This probably stems from (quelle surprise!) the main actress in the film. Just as Anette and Kate shined in Mendes’ earlier attempts at tackling American marriage, Maya Rudolph is a revelation here, grounding the film and making it believable… relatable even. As a sworn fan of Ms Rudolph in her SNL days (oh how those Donatella Versace skits crack me up!) I was completely thrown aback by the skill with which she took on this clearly aimless and vulnerable female and made it work. Everyone else might get the laughs, but it is Rudolph who gets the heart of the film, with her rotund pregnant figure and with just a few looks and smiles. Mendes is a great actor-director, so this should have come as no surprise, but to see such a wonder of a performance is always rewarding. (Oh, and to see Ms Gyllenhaal as a hippie Feminist mom and Ms Janney as white-trash, end up being lovely pleasurable asides). A-