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Film / Away We Go

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Away We Go is a 2009 comedy-drama directed by Sam Mendes, written by Dave Eggers and Vendela Vida and starring John Krasinski and Maya Rudolph. The film centers on the main couple, Burt and Verona, who are expecting their first child when they suddenly have to find a new home. What follows is a series of encounters with old friends and relatives, other parents with wildly different styles while the couple try to figure out how to raise their impending offspring.


As you can guess from the subject matter, it's a wellspring of parenting and pregnancy tropes.

This film contains examples of:

  • Adult Fear: Burt and Verona express doubts on whether they'll be good parents.
  • Angrish: Burt descends into it when he's finally had enough of LN.
  • Babies Make Everything Better: The film ends before the birth, but it seems to be heading this way.
  • Big Brother Instinct: Burt after his brother's wife leaves him and his young daughter.
  • Bumbling Dad: An expecting version.
  • Completely Missing the Point: When Burt points out that Antwerp is 3,000 miles away from where they live, Burt's parents reaction is that it's longer than 3,000 miles.
  • Crapsack World: At first, it seems that Burt and Verona are in the wrong movie, with all the people they visit being selfish, jerkasses, or plagued with marital problems. It's later subverted. See Earn Your Happy Ending below.
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  • Dysfunction Junction: All the people Burt and Verona visit have a variety of emotional problems.
  • Earn Your Happy Ending: After all they went through trying to find a suitable home, Burt and Verona finally settle in Verona's late parents' house, optimistic about the future.
  • Feuding Families: The main couple and Burt's cousin's very crunchy family.
  • Good Parents: Burt and Verona are budding examples of this trope. Most everyone else, however...
  • Law of Inverse Fertility: The pregnancy was accidental.
  • Lighter and Softer: Once you compare this movie to Sam Mendes' previous films.
  • No Pregger Sex: Averted.
  • Only Sane Man: Burt and Verona, at various points.
  • Parental Obliviousness / Parental Abandonment: The plot is kicked off when Burt's parents leave the country, renting their house to strangers (after briefly promising it to Burt and Verona) and seeing no problem with missing out on the birth as well as the first two years of their grandchild's life.
    • Additionally, late in the film Burt and Verona go to see Burt's brother to offer their support after his wife split, leaving no way of contacting her and apparently not planning to return. His main concern is how their 7-year-old daughter is going to handle her mom abandoning her like this.
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  • Papa Wolf: Verona has Burt promise that he'll fight for his daughter's fights.
  • Pop-Star Composer: Alexi Murdoch, replacing Mendes' usual composer Thomas Newman.
  • Twice-Told Tale: The film could be seen as a counterpart to Mendes' previous film Revolutionary Road. Both focus on an expecting couple unsure about the future, but while Burt and Verona are happy and idealistic life-partners, Road's Frank and April are in an unloving Masochism Tango. And contrast Road's Downer Ending, with April aborting the baby then killing herself, leaving Frank and their neighbors unhappy, to Go's Earn Your Happy Ending with Burt and Verona moving in to Verona's late parents' home, hopeful about the future.
  • Sliding Scale of Idealism vs. Cynicism: In contrast to the director's other films, Away We Go is fairly idealistic and more light-hearted, though it shows the struggles of remaining idealistic.
  • Take That!: Against, of all things, the Continuum concept. Viewers Are Geniuses indeed.


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