"Searching for a Real Home"
What You Need To Know:
AWAY WE GO is funny, winsome and sometimes terribly sad, heartwarming and poignant, with appealing lead characters. Maya Rudolph of SATURDAY NIGHT LIFE is a revelation as the steady, but non-traditional Verona. She could be an Oscar contender. This movie has an inspiring, redemptive message about the importance of home, family and love, but it contains too much unnecessary foul language, including some very crude sexual references. Also, though it does not attack traditional marriage, it doesn’t 100% affirm it either. Overall, viewers should exercise extreme caution with AWAY WE GO.
(PaPa, BB, C, Ho, FR, LLL, V, SS, N, AA, M) Strong, but mixed, pagan worldview with some strong, lightly redemptive pro-family moral messages about home, love and commitment (including an attack in one scene on politically correct, New Age theories about family and raising children and a strong message favoring adoption) about an unmarried thirtysomething couple expecting their first child, plus crude woman jokes about a possible lesbian woman and sometimes an antinomian tone or attitude expressed (sometimes implied); about obscenities (including many “f” words), seven strong profanities and 10 light profanities; light comic violence when man gets angry at two people, does something crazy and they chase him around their house while he’s running away from them; implied oral sex under bed covers, lead couple is unmarried but lives together, and some crude sexual references, including crude woman jokes about a possible lesbian woman; upper male nudity; alcohol use and light drunkenness; no smoking or drugs; and, woman is not interested in marriage, woman breast feeds child in front of people but nothing revealing is shown, New Age hippie couple shows disdain for people who don’t practice what the crazy things they do, and they are strongly rebuked, and protagonist’s brother says his wife has left him and their daughter.
AWAY WE GO is a winsome, sometimes hilarious comedy about a thirtysomething couple searching for a home while waiting for their first baby to arrive. Although it celebrates life and other values, it has several major moral problems before coming to its poignant happy ending.
The first major problem shows up in the movie’s tasteless first scene, where the unmarried couple is in bed engaging in sex. At the end of the scene, Burt discovers that his longtime live-in girlfriend, Verona, is pregnant. Six months later, they are upset to learn that Burt’s parents are moving out of Colorado, thus eliminating the couple’s main reason for living there.
Burt and Verona embark on an ambitious journey around the United States and Canada to visit friends and family, and determine where they should live. Verona is a graphics designer who no longer sees any point to getting married, and Burt is an insurance salesman. So, both of them can find jobs virtually anywhere.
Their journey takes them to two cities in Arizona, to Wisconsin, to Montreal, Canada, and finally to Miami to help Burt’s brother, whose wife just left him and their child. The journey allows them to define home, family, love, and commitment in unexpected, but somewhat inspiring, ways. Through that experience, they discover where they belong.
AWAY WE GO is one of the year’s better-directed, written and acted movies. It is funny, winsome, sometimes sad, heartwarming, and poignant, with appealing lead characters. Maya Rudolph of SATURDAY NIGHT LIFE is a revelation as the steady, but non-traditional Verona. Chances are, she will vie for the Oscar in next year’s competition. John Krasinski of TV’s THE OFFICE complements her extremely well as Burt. It is very easy to believe that their characters are totally in love.
AWAY WE GO gives viewers an inspiring definition of home and love that is somewhat redemptive and biblical. One positive comment about love being the glue of a positive relationship was particularly insightful and redemptive. The movie also affirms life. That said, there is no spiritual foundation to the movie. It also doesn’t fully endorse marriage, though it doesn’t attack that institution either, even though Verona repeatedly says she doesn’t want to get married. In fact, one of the families and marriages depicted in the movie is a very positive one, though the couple depicted does have a tragic ongoing secret that elicits extreme sympathy from discerning viewers. Even so, it’s annoying that the movie does not affirm traditional marriage and family more strongly.
One of the funniest, more moral scenes is Verona and Burt’s encounter with a married hippie couple at a Wisconsin college. In the scene, Burt becomes righteously indignant about the New Age couple’s stupid, loony, self-righteous, and permissive, politically correct, radical theories about how to raise children. Conservative, Christian viewers would be cheering Burt on! It is one of the funniest scenes in a movie this year.
All that said, AWAY WE GO has several other major moral problems that are annoying. First of all, it contains plenty of gratuitous, unnecessary foul language. Some of that inappropriate crude language comes from Verona’s vulgar former boss, Lily, who offers Verona and viewers a really bad example of motherhood. Some of the crude language also contains vulgar sexual references, but such instances happily seem to be few and far between.
Overall, therefore, AWAY WE GO is a mixed experience. A more traditional, moral and even Christian viewpoint could have made this movie much more family friendly and appropriate, as well as even more inspiring. It is much less offensive, however, than Sam Mendes, the director’s, earlier acclaimed (but abhorrent) movie of the 1990s, the Oscar-winning AMERICAN BEAUTY.