Sunday, July 05, 2009


Friday Movie Review (quite late): Away We Go

Finally went to the new Sam Mendes triumph, Away We Go, with Maya Rudolph and the guy from the American The Office, John Krasinski, and it was good, but before I get to that, I want to write a paragraph about another famous Sam Mendes film 10 years old now, American Beauty, which I used to like but I have grown very cold on lately. If it weren't for Kevin Spacey being better than he had been since he played Mel Profitt, and Annette Bening's best acting ever, that was just a so so movie. Mendes chickened from the original idea of having the kids, Thora Birch and Wes Bentley, wrongly convicted for the murder. Pussy! And as an expose of the weird, underbelly of suburban America, it was just a bit neurotic and trite at the same time. An upper class, artistic, lefty British person's idea of what's wrong with America. Medice, cura te ipsum.

There's a bit of that disapproving condesension again in this film, but there is a lot less to loath about the Director's vision down his nose at us post-colonial rubes this time. But there are some rubes, and they are pretty awful.

Every couple but one is a trainwreck of selfishness, and the one couple who isn't--they live in Montreal, not us crass, loud Americans mind you--has a sadness within that is subtly but powerfully portrayed (and good to see Melanie Lynskey from Heavenly Creatures again, she had been almost completely eclipsed by her co star Kate Winslet's recent supernova of a career). The single people in the film are OK. So what is the search but from one bad role model to another to ultimate solitude? Isn't that just sort of giving up on human connection?

Still, it's a fun journey. The nouveau hippie Maggie Gyllenhaal (looking real good) and seahorse husband, Josh Hamilton, is a comic delight from beginning to end. The little boy, Beckett, prompted into confessing his desire to smother the baby is a gem of comic timing. And Krasinski saying very inappropriate things to his lover on the train is the funniest thing in the movie.

There are little directing visual things too that are great: The plane in Phoenix going across the windows; Gyllenhaal breastfeeding both her children; and, the brief view of the orange tree with things hanging in it.

I seem to recall Maya Rudolph being pregnant in another movie, the complete waste of filmstock, A Prairie Home Companion. The guy who keeps knocking her up is the esteemed director, Paul Thomas Anderson, who did Boogie Nights and There Will Be Blood. Like our film's traveling couple, they too are apparently never to be married. But enough gossip.

After each fresh hell of couples, who are so bad as to be nearly unbelievable, there is a cleansing breath of genuine connection with the siblings of our traveling hero and heroine.--Maya and her sister in the bathtub; Krasinski and bro lamenting the future of the abandoned daughter. Those are good things. But the only connection that seems to matter to Mendes is the connection of Rudolph to Kasinski as they are the sun and moon of this movie.
This movie does the opposite of American Beauty--the more I think of it, the better I think of it.


I ask you to see a war movie and you come back w/ a review on a post modern chick flick. Is this a sx of being married?

Yes, and the fact that The Hurt Locker has not started here yet. Patience.
OK,OK. You're off the hook.

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