Exploring the comedic twists and emotional turns in one couple’s journey across contemporary America, Away We Go is the new movie from Academy Award-winning director Sam Mendes, from the first original screenplay by novelists Dave Eggers & Vendela Vida, and featuring music by singer/songwriter Alexi Murdoch.
Longtime (and now thirtysomething) couple Burt (John Krasinski) and Verona (Maya Rudolph) are going to have a baby. The pregnancy progresses smoothly, but six months in, the pair is put off and put out by the cavalierly delivered news from Burt’s parents Jerry and Gloria (Jeff Daniels and Catherine O’Hara) that the eccentric elder Farlanders are moving out of Colorado – thereby eliminating the expectant couple’s main reason for living there.
So, where, and among whom of those closest to them, might Burt and Verona best put down roots to raise their impending bundle of joy? The couple embarks on an ambitious itinerary to visit friends and family, and to evaluate cities. The first stop on the grand tour is Phoenix, where the duo spends a day at the (dog) races with Verona’s irrepressible (and frequently inappropriate) former colleague Lily (Allison Janney) and her repressible family, including husband Lowell (Jim Gaffigan); then it’s Tucson, and a visit to the lovely Grace (Carmen Ejogo), Verona’s sister.
An intimate conversation with her sister, who is her lone living relative, gives Verona a refreshed perspective – which she will sorely need in Wisconsin, where Burt’s childhood “cousin” Ellen, now known as LN (Maggie Gyllenhaal), and her partner Roderick (Josh Hamilton) have Burt and Verona over to their home. After LN and Roderick elaborate on their intractable ideas for raising children and running a household, Burt and Verona bolt for Montreal and a warmer welcome from their former college classmates Tom (Chris Messina) and Munch (Melanie Lynskey).
Even though the latter’s house is full of children, comfort and joy, a night out for the four old friends provides a bracing reminder of how much it takes to sustain a relationship and a family. When an emergency phone call forces Burt and Verona into an unanticipated Miami detour to visit Burt’s brother Courtney (Paul Schneider), they realize that they must define home on their own terms.