Hadn't gotten around to writing about this, but we had free passes back on Wednesday 17 June 2009 to see a screening of the movie Away We Go at UICA, the Urban Institute for Contemporary Arts in Grand Rapids. Now that the film is in wider release, it's high time I comment on this lovely film.
We were both off on Wednesdays in June, so heading towards downtown G.R. and having a little dinner was no scheduling problem. I'd suggested we go to Marie Catrib's. Marie had a Middle Eastern deli in Marquette MI and while we were in the U.P., she opened Marie's Deli in downtown Houghton. Well, we left the U.P. as did Marie, so we were surprised to find later that she'd opened up a new deli and restaurant in Grand Rapids. We don't get that way often, but we've had one friend do their wedding reception there and the Michigan Tech Alumni Association has had wonderful brunch events there, too.
But after crossing the Grand River we could see Fulton Street coming to a halt ahead and Mrs. Dr. Phil said, why don't we go to Bistro Bella Vita instead -- we hadn't been there in years. And the right turn lane was open, so...
Though not cheap, it was a lovely and relaxing dinner. I had the four cheese ravioli, "house-made four cheese and spinach ravioli with vine ripened tomatoes, shallot, garlic, and spinach in a tomato butter sauce with an aged balsamic", which came in a heavy soup plate which kept its heat all the way through so the cheeses stayed perfectly melted, but not burning hot. A perfect meal and the brief rains avoided us outside.
Away We Go [R]
UICA, Free (but we gave a donation), 7pm
Focus Features continues to make some really decent and innovative movies. And I'd forgotten that Away We Go was directed by Sam Mendes (Mr. Kate Winslet). From the trailers, it looked to be a quirky, hippie, fish out of water sort of film -- and it is. But if Away We Go reminds me of anything, it is one of our favorite films of all time, Love, Actually. Both would be technically labeled as comedies, but both feature very serious issues and discussions of family and love, respectively, in many of their multiple forms.
John Krasinski and Maya Rudolph star, though we don't watch The Office and we've not much Saturday Night Live in years, so though we've seen them before, we don't really know them. She's pregnant and doesn't believe in marriage, but there's no question this is a long term committed "married" couple. Her parents are dead, so they're living in Colorado and sort of depending on his folks to help out with impending birth. Except Catharine O'Hara and Jeff Daniels are a couple of major league flakes and they're bugging out to Europe, for a couple of years. So our heroic family-to-be go on a trek around North America, visiting family and friends, to find out where they should move to. It helps that they both work in jobs that don't require any particular location.
Allison Janney plays an even bigger flake and is such a hoot, and Maggie Gyllenhaal plays an even bigger New Age-y whacko. Still, I keep coming back to the fact that there are some very serious encounters and so it's not really a comedy. That's important to me because we don't like very many of the big hit comedies on TV or movies. But we REALLY liked this movie. While we don't have kids, we know all these people in some ways and we understand their motivations and dreams.
Starting a family is such a huge step and not everyone has an opportunity to interview a whole country (or two) to see where to raise it. The ending, though we're still not quite sure where exactly it is supposed to be, is natural and compelling. And unexpected and perfect.
Just like this film. Go see it.