Away We Go (2009)
Written by Dave Eggers & Vendela Vida
Directed by Sam Mendes
“I think we might be fuck-ups.” ~ Verona
“We’re not fuck-ups.” ~ Burt
A-to-Z of Movies :: The Letter A
My Top 5 about Away We Go
1. The music in this movie is the kinds that sticks and stays long after the credits roll. Each song transcends the film, but at the same time it brings back to me the emotion of the film, the cinematic moments and moods, and the characters, especially Verona and Burt.
Alexi Murdoch is one of those singers that I tend to associate more with film and television, and fictional characters, then I do my own stories, yet I tend to still seek out his songs. They remind me of this movie, as well as the TV series, The OC. Lyrically, though, I think his songs fit more with this film, and the love and life story between Verona and Burt, especially with lyrics like “my salvation lies in your love.”
Oh! Sweet Nuthin’ :: The Velvet Underground
My favorite song on the soundtrack though is The Velvet Underground’s Oh! Sweet Nuthin’. Though I’d heard the song before, it wasn’t until this film that it hit me so deeply. That last scene encapsulates so much of what love is, in all the hope and wistfulness and uncertainty and risk, and those moments of bliss. The ending feels like a beginning, and this song feels like both, a stop and a start to the story. I’m glad I could take the song with me afterwards.
“We just gotta ride it out.” ~ Burt
I love stories about love, especially if the stories are unpredictable, told about flawed people who do not have all the answers, and do not ride the typical story arc. I love love stories that feel relatable, and that leave you with a feeling of uncertainty, mixed with a hefty dose of hope. I believe in the love that Verona and Burt have, though I worry that they will fail sometimes, and that they may break apart. I root for them anyway, hoping in the same way I have when I’ve loved someone, and wished for a future together. Sometimes you just have to go for it, ride it out, make it a love story within itself.
3. The colors, and the lighting, and the cinematography. I don’t know how to describe it exactly as my knowledge of film is more on what I love and how I feel, than anything technical. But what I do know is that this film is beautiful to me, visually speaking, it is stunning. The imperfections, the shades and contrasts, and the use of day and night, it all works for me.
4. I love that the movie was penned by an actual couple who wrote it while awaiting the birth of their first child. Dave Eggers and Vendela Vida may not be Burt and Verona, but they certainly brought their own reality into the characters, gifting the film with sincerity and a genuine feeling that made it all the more “real” to me. Their struggles to grow up (or, well, feel they’ve grown up) and create their version of family is beautiful and heartbreaking and to me a commentary on modern couple-hood.
The writing feels so spot on.
Though I’m older than Burt and Verona, I relate to never quite knowing what “family” should look like, but longing for it nevertheless, or perhaps because I don’t know how it should be, or look, or feel. Growing up in a broken home, that seemed to get more broken with time, but also coming of age in front of a television screen, and trips to the movies, where family and love were portrayed in way that seemed so different, so foreign, and so desirable, it certainly embedded a ton of mix messages in my psyche. I’m not saying that everything I took in off a screen, big or small, was idyllic or perfect, but it had a thread of simplicity woven through, and a perfection that I invariably started to strive for, even if I did not consciously realize it.
Perhaps that is why I love imperfect stories of love.
5. Verona and Burt.
Though I love the other characters, the way they add color and history and dynamic to their story, how they contrast and conflict with what we see their journey being, it is the two of them – Verona and Burt – that I love the most. Their moments, especially just between the two of them, are by far my favorites. Their moments, even the quiet ones, maybe especially the quiet ones, are what I took with me from the movie, and why I return to it when I re-watch.
John Krasinski and Maya Rudolph are just perfect in this.
“We can go anywhere we want.”
3 thoughts on “Away We Go (2009) :: A-to-Z of Movies :: My Top 5”
oh god how i loved that movie, especially the last minute of the film when they finally find the place of their dreams so as to raise their family, the view of this pace was so beautiful, and as awkward as it may seem this movie was in my head for the last three days 🙂 thank you.
The last minute is so beautiful and perfect to me, and that place…thank you for reading and sharing your thoughts!