Not all movies make me cry. I’m not necessarily a major weeper, but if a movie or a TV show strikes just the right chord, then my tears are a melody of all my feels.
That being said, there are some movies that make me cry more than most – and make me cry every time I watch them. This is one of those movies. (Beware: there are obviously spoilers.)
John Krasinski and Maya Rudolph. Not enough people know about the brilliance of this movie. As if it didn’t have you at John and Maya, there’s also Jeff Daniels, Catherine O’Hara, Allison Janney, Jim Gaffigan, Maggie Gyllenhaal, Chris Messina – need I go on?
All right, so I know just because the cast sounds amazing, that does not an amazing movie make. Just look at Rise of the Guardians – not the owl movie, as I originally suspected. It’s an animated flick boasting the likes of Chris Pine, Hugh Jackman, Alec Baldwin and Jude Law. Rise of the Guardians may be great for kids who think they’re about to watch owls, but it’s not a real tear-jerker. It’s quirky and strangely cute, but it doesn’t leave you a mess in the same beautiful way Away We Go does.
Away We Go is like a diamond in the rough. The kind of diamond you look at and end up curled in the fetal position with an emptied box of tissues dialing your mom’s phone number to tell her you love her.
A bearded Krasinski and a preggers Rudolph (as opposed to a pregnant Rudolf) are faced with the decision of where to live when his parents, curly-haired O’Hara and bespectacled Daniels, decide to move to Antwerp two months before the baby is to be born. Do they live in Arizona near her crazy ex-boss, Janney, and her unhinged family and a short drive from Rudolph’s sister? Do they move to Wisconsin to be near his childhood hippy friend Gyllenhaal with her seahorse-obsessed husband? Do they live in Montreal with their college friends, Messina and baby-in-a-bar girl from Sweet Home Alabama, who have a perfect adopted family? Do they live in Miami with his brother who’s recently become a single dad, Mark Brendanawicz from Parks & Rec?
There are a couple points that make me bawl. First, when her and her sister are bathtub shopping in Arizona and they both climb into a showroom tub so her sister can pretend to wash her hair like their mom used to before she died. That whole scene just kills me and the halted conversation they’re having by talking about it but not really talking about it just teems with so much pain I can’t even begin to imagine.
The other scene is when they’re in Miami and he is trying to track down his brother’s runaway wife who left her husband and her daughter. He’s pacing back and forth on a trampoline at midnight trying to track down this woman who he says tore his brother’s family apart and broke that little girl’s heart. And then she climbs onto the trampoline – while very much pregnant in the comfiest muumuu I’ve ever seen – and for the first time, you find out why they’ll never get married and it starts to break your heart and open the floodgates of your tear ducts. And then they exchange vows. The sweetest, most wonderful, most tear-gland-splicing vows I’ve ever seen in a film. Even as I type this I’m getting choked up.
Krasinski: Do you promise to let our daughter be fat or skinny or any weight at all? Because we want her to be happy, no matter what. Being obsessed with weight is just too cliché for our daughter.
Rudolph: Yes, I do. Do you promise, when she talks, you’ll listen? Like, really listen, especially when she’s scared? And that her fights will be your fights?
Krasinski: I do. And do you promise that if I die some embarrassing and boring death that you’re gonna tell our daughter that her father was killed by Russian soldiers in this intense hand-to-hand combat in an attempt to save the lives of 850 Chechnyan orphans?
Rudolph: I do. Chechnyan orphans. I do. I do.
It’s so sweet!
And then the final scene, well, the last twenty minutes or so because the final scene happens right after the trampoline scene so the tears are already a-flowin’. They go home. And throughout the movie the director Sam Mendes has been cutting between the travel scenes with “AWAY TO ARIZONA” or “AWAY TO MONTREAL” and then this scene just says “HOME” and the tears start going. And then they pull up and see the tree with all the plastic fruit on it! My face is a mess. And then they slowly drive up the overgrown driveway and see the house – the wonderful, beautiful, magical house with chipped paint and old windows and a chain-link fence, and I start to lose it again. And then they silently, all so silently, pull open the door and it’s huge and monumental and I’m a complete mess. I’m not even watching the movie right now and I’m a mess. I need to lean away from my computer lest I drown my tears.
And then they sit. And it’s perfect. And… excuse me. I have to go watch this movie right now, but first I have to make a Costco run for bulk tissues.