In honor of Valentine's Day, our staff will be sharing some of their favorite romantic scenes all day long.
Believe it or not, I actually consider Sam Mendes' Away We Go as one of my favorite romantic films. I just wanted to warn you, because my contribution to Our Favorite Romantic Scenes is from that very movie -- one that has been described as having a "smug self-regard", tainted by "unsettling meanness" and contained songs that will "wear out their rueful, faux-naïve welcome". But I stand by the story of a couple looking to start a new life for their family, once their own are out of the picture because it is full of moments that define my kind of romance. It isn't about grand gestures or what I call 'Scarlett O'Hara' moments, but it's a story about real and lasting love between two people who seem like they might be fun to have a beer with.
The film was written by novelist and McSweeney's founder Dave Eggers and his wife, Vendela Vida, and like most of Eggers' work, the story touches on the idea of home and having a family on your own terms. The flick is easily one of Mendes' warmest films, and the writing is full of a kind of sarcasm and sweetness that has become a trademark of Eggers' work, and the reason he is one of my favorite authors.
In a way, my defense of this movie is that it's is a little bit like love itself; it's charm comes down to a mix of intangible qualities, feelings, and personal quirks that some find annoying or empty. But to you (or in this case, me), it's just the sweetest thing there is. As the two lovers, John Krasinski and Maya Rudolph have a rapport that seems like genuine affection, love, and humor. So if I have to to pick one scene that sums up the feeling this movie gives me, I would have to go with the opening scene. In that brief moment, there is humor, intimacy, and it's even a little sexy -- and when it comes to romance, those kind of moments are the best you can hope for.
Happy Valentine's Day everybody!
Thanks to a lack of clips to demonstrate my point, I settled for a moment of 'meanness' and Alexi Murdoch's Nick Drake inspired melancholy...