Nominee: 'Away We Go'
"Away We Go" follows a loving, thirty-something couple, Burt and Verona (played by John Krasinki and Maya Rudolph), on their journey to find the perfect spot to raise their unborn baby girl. Having no relatives close by, they travel around the country looking for a new place to call home.
Along the way they constantly worry about being "f--- ups" and bad parents, but also discover that none of the friends and family members they visit are living perfect lives either. In their modern-day road trip, they stop in Phoenix where Lily (Allison Janney), Verona's former boss, says horrible things about her children; in Madison, there's LN (the wonderful Maggie Gyllenhaal), a New Agey professor who freaks out at the thought of using a stroller ("I LOVE my babies. Why would I PUSH them away from me?"); in Montreal their friends Tom and Munch have a large adopted family, but are depressed by the fact that they cannot have a child of their own; and in Miami, Burt's brother Courtney, whose wife has just left him, is now forced to raise their daughter alone.
It is in Miami that Burt proposes to Verona for the umpteenth time—Verona, who doesn't believe in the institution of marriage, has always refused. She declines this time too. But, in one of the film's best scenes, they tearfully recite vows to one another (on a trampoline, no less) promising never to leave their daughter and to "let her be fat or skinny, as long as she's happy." Verona also acknowledges that "All we can do is be good for this one baby. We don't have control over much else."
Do Verona and Burt actually find the perfect place to raise their child? The film's happy ending indicates that they do—and underscores the lasting positive effects that parents, even after death, have on kids. Burt and Verona are clear-eyed about the uncertainties that lie ahead, but their love and desire to do the best they can offer the promise of true happiness.
Photo: Teresa Isasi/ Focus Features