Monday, 28 June 2010

Away We Go by Sam Mendes

A lot of bloggers really didn't  like this film calling it 'smug', bourgeois' and 'conventional'. True, nearly everyone in it is middle class and (except the main two characters, Burt and Verona) live in exquisite homes but I found it pretty radical in that the couple who find they are expecting a baby, ACTUALLY LIKE EACH OTHER.

The film is not about their whirlwind fall into love, they have already been together for years. At no point do they seem to question their feelings for each other; they bicker a bit and there is some eye-rolling when Burt does a stupid phone voice but, although Verona doesn't want to marry, they seem sure that they are spending the rest of their lives together. There is no question that they want their baby either. This film is about them searching for somewhere to put down roots, where they will both be happy and can live together, forever, with their expected daughter.

I find it sad that this cosy and comfortable dynamic between a lead couple so surprised me. I am used to watching films when the men are constantly sneaking off to strip clubs, bemoaning their attached status and saying things like "just give 'em what they want man, I just say 'yes' without even listenin' any more."

Likewise, attached women in films and television are always talking about how awful men are. I could never fully enjoy Sex and the City for instance because, although the women in it spent a lot of time discussing men, they didn't seem to enjoy their company terribly much.

Verona and Bert are always together in this movie and are each other's best friend. They make each other laugh and compromise to make the other one happy. There are other couples in this film, Burt's parents and several friends of the couple and again, they are presented as individuals who are also a part of couples.

Even the awful characters played by Maggie Gylenhaal and Josh Hamilton are a united front with their condescending view of Burt and Verona's child rearing plans. Maybe this is because the screenplay was written by a married couple, Dave Eggers and Vendela Vida who also, (presumably) actually like each other. Surely this is to be celebrated? It is not a perfect film, but in its treatment of relationships, it is certainly not 'conventional.'


  1. Oh serendipitous post! I've been making a list of films I want to watch this summer, and I vaguely had this one in mind but couldn't remember what it was called. Thank you for reminding me! It sounds like something I'll appreciate. I completely agree with you on the dynamics between men and women in a great number of movies and TV shows. It's something that puts me off too.

  2. Glad I could help! It's a really sweet film and I hope you enjoy it.