Friday, June 12, 2009


Last year, I saw Nick & Norah's Infinite Playlist with no expectations. I figured it was just another teen movie that I'd find remotely amusing. I left the theater with a feeling of inspiration--inspired to love, to take a chance, to go out into the night and spend countless hours really getting to know someone and bonding over a common passion.

This year, I went to see Away We Go with only one goal: revel in two hours of John Krasinski's ("The Office") presence. I left feeling envious of Burt (Krasinski) and Verona's (Maya Rudolph from "SNL") love, which seemed to have no discernible beginning and no forseeable end. They traveled the states searching for a place they could call home, a place to begin their family. What they found wasn't just new surroundings but an array of family settings. There was the hippie lifestyle of communal beds and toddler breastfeeding, the white trash lifestyle of over-criticizing your kids and considering "a day at the dog track" family-time, the mixed household of adopted children as a result of infertility, and the single dad who was abandoned by his wife. Exploring all of their options and evaluating the different lifestyles they could adapt into their own new family leads to an interesting ending.

Verona maintained that she would never marry Burt. She didn't want to have a ceremony that her deceased parents couldn't attend. They agreed to be committed to each other in every other way, and so they would have the modern lifestyle of an unwed, mixed-race family. But after being exposed to:
• an obsessive mother (Maggie Gyllenhaal from The Dark Knight) who refused to use a stroller because "pushing" her child away from her was against her hippie-loving beliefs,
• a negligent mother (Allison Janney from "The West Wing") who finds fault in everything her children do and in what they look like,
• a big-hearted mom (Melanie Lynskey from "Two and a Half Men") who must suffer through countless miscarriages while the undeserving birth children effortlessly,
• and a selfish mother who would abandon her daughter,
the most important aspect of their relationship was a promise--not just to love each other as marriage vows tend to verbalize but--to be the best parents they could be, to not overthink their upbringing and indoctrinate them into rigid beliefs, to not crush their spirits and inflate their insecurities, and to never ever take them for granted. They essentially made their own vows and had an impromptu, unofficial, but undeniably romantic, commitment ceremony. The best love stories are the ones you envy, the ones you aspire to have one day, and director Sam Mendes (American Beauty and Jarhead) succeeded in grounding us in reality, while providing a healthy dose of fantasy and hope.

This is normally the part where I name all of my favorite moments, but if I did, I'd be reciting the entire film. lol Just watch it. It'll have you laughing, crying, and envying in no time.

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