July 03, 2011

"Choctaw princess" in Away We Go

Just watched the 2009 movie Away We Go. Here's the story:Verona De Tessant (Maya Rudolph) and Burt Farlander (John Krasinski) are in their early thirties and struggling to meet daily needs and build fulfilling lives as an anatomy artist and a salesman of insurance futures, respectively. When they learn they will soon become parents, they are confronted with the challenge of how--and where--to raise a child and build a happy family.

Six months into Verona's pregnancy, she and Burt visit their only family in the area, Burt's parents, Gloria and Jerry (Catherine O'Hara and Jeff Daniels), only to find that they have decided to move to Antwerp, Belgium, for two years a month before the baby is due to be born. Frustrated at Burt's parents' selfishness and ill-thinking, he and Verona see this as an opportunity to find somewhere else to raise their family.
To demonstrate how bad the parents' values are, Jerry glances lovingly at a small statue on a table behind him. It's a reclining maiden in bronze--less than a foot high and two feet long.

The following dialogue ensues:BURT:  What is that?

JERRY:  Oh! Magnificent, isn't it? I didn't think you'd notice. $12,000.

VERONA:  I can not believe it.

JERRY:  I know. She's a Choctaw princess, I'm told. I think it's important that we honor our Indian...ah...indigent people. Our ingenious...indigentuous people.
Comment:  We can't see the statue clearly. But I read that authentic bronzes by Frederic Remington sell for more than $75,000. I don't think he did a "Choctaw princess," but an original piece by a lesser artist might be worth $12,000.

The obvious joke is that Jerry is trying to be "correct" but doesn't know the word "indigenous." He spent $12K on a statue he can't even identify.

Less obvious is that a Choctaw princess, like a Cherokee princess, probably doesn't exist. And that there's nothing wrong with saying "Indian people."

Anyway, I thought Away We Go was an uneven movie that couldn't decide whether it wanted to be a comedy or a drama. This review sums up my feelings:

Away We Go Review

Rob's rating:  7.0 of 10.

For more on the subject, see The Best Indian Movies.

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