With Away We Go, director Sam Mendes has made a fairly lightweight road movie that feels more personal than expected and in which the journey—not the destination—is what really matters. It is a low-key, deliberately paced feel-good film filled with moments of humor and seriousness. Moreover, the movie has a nice there-is-no-place-like-home message that rings true.
The dialogue comes across as overwrought and bland at times, but it also contains its fair share of gems. There is one scene that stands out not for its content but because it is beautifully shot in soft candlelight.
John Krasinski and Maya Rudolph have genuine chemistry and are convincing in the lead roles. The memorably quirky supporting characters (Allison Janney, Maggie Gyllenhaal, Jeff Daniels, and Catherine O’Hara give the most notable performances) often dominate the scenes in which they appear, and the differences between them and the relatively normal central characters in terms of personality and behavior make for a number of interesting situations in the film.