Saturday, February 20, 2010

That je ne sais quoi

I was curious to see "Away we go" (Sam Mendes, 2009) because it deals with some of the materials my story deals with, mainly with the "young couple vs. everyone else" theme.

I found the film boring, the characters dull, and the overall story problematic, but it took me some time to figure out why.

My first thesis was that the movie suffers from genre confusion. To me, it seemed like the two main characters live in a drama, while many of the supporting characters (especially the guy's parents, and Maggie Gyllenhaal's character) live in a comedy. It could be funny if it was intentional, but it seems to be accidental.

Then I watched "The puffy chair", and it hit me.

"Away we go" is about a couple expecting its first baby. They decide to move to a new city and build a home for their future family. So they go on a trip to decide where they want to move to, checking out different locations, different lifestyles, and at the end of the movie they choose their new home.

"The puffy chair" (Jay Duplass, 2005) is a road trip movie. It's about a guy who was planning to buy a puffy chair he found on EBAY, and drive it to his parents' house as a present for his dad's birthday. He was planning to go on his trip alone, but his girlfriend and later his brother both join him. Change of plans: instead of the trip being about him getting a present for his dad, it becomes about his relationship with his girlfriend and with his brother.

That's what's missing on "Away we go". So trivial, yet it makes all the difference - going on a trip, not knowing what its outcome will be.

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