The Way Way Back
Year:
2013
Country:
USA
Genre:
Drama, Comedy
IMDB rating:
7.4
Director:
Nat Faxon, Jim Rash
Zoe Levin as Steph
Jeremy Weaver as Jason
Liam James as Duncan
Maya Rudolph as Caitlyn
Sam Rockwell as Owen
Jim Rash as Lewis
Amanda Peet as Joan
Steve Carell as Trent
Nat Faxon as Roddy
AnnaSophia Robb as Susanna
Storyline: Shy 14-year-old Duncan goes on summer vacation with his mother, her overbearing boyfriend, and her boyfriend's daughter. Having a rough time fitting in, Duncan finds an unexpected friend in Owen, manager of the Water Wizz water park.
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Reviews
Emotionally charged, very well acted
I was forced to watch what I though was going to be a "chick" flick for the evening. I was more than pleasantly surprised. "THE WAY WAY BACK" is a very enjoyable film. The story-line is not new, but the acting is superb. Allison Janning is wonderful as the fun loving, alcohol fueled neighbor, and Steven Carrel is excellent as the self absorbed boyfriend. The young actors do a wonderful job conveying the teenage angst that we all have experienced. Especially those of us from a single parent home. I highly recommend this film, it does not disappoint. From the awesome rear facing third seat of the olds-mo-buick, to the detail of the New England interior of the beach house, you will love this movie in so many ways.
2013-11-02
Very enjoyable
Having seen a run of fairly forgettable blockbusters it was nice to go along and watch a low budget movie.

The way way back is a coming of age movie and follows shy Duncan on his summer vacation with mother and step dad. I'm sure the relationship between Duncan and parents will be familiar to many people. The good thing about this type of movie is that it focuses more on characters and you get a real sense, feel and empathy for several characters. The cast is strong and in addition to the lead played by Liam James you have the likes of Steve Carell, Toni Collette and Sam Rockwell.

The movie does occasionally get a little too "feel good", but that's a small drawback in what is otherwise a very enjoyable watch. Well worth a watch if you like off beat indie dramas.
2013-09-29
Good, but not as good as it should've been
This is one of those quirky teen films that is trying to be just like the big quirky teen film that went before it.

However, the problem is that it's not half as funny or as quirky, or indeed as good as it likes to think it is.

The big name cast is in place, and does its best with the material, but there's something lacking from this film to make it of the same standard as 'Little Miss Sunshine' or 'Juno', of which this film shares some of the creatives.

It's a shame because there's a lot to like here, but it doesn't all gel together successfully.
2017-05-29
The Way Way Back (@cmp_moviereviews)
Coming of age films follow similar storytelling patterns. Patterns like "growing up sucks", "fathers be good to your sons/daughters", "accountability". "The Way, Way Back" follows those patterns, and yet still somehow manages to stand out as one of the best. The importance of the motherhood/fatherhood duo echo throughout this comedic drama, and are likely to shed a tear or two. Films like these transport you to moments, destinations, and memorable interactions of the past. I genuinely enjoyed watching and remembering all throughout. #thewaywayback
2017-08-17
Painful Adolescence
An excellent film which for me had the same appeal as Stand By Me. The writing is thoughtful and poignant. From the outset I had a lot of sympathy for the adolescent boy, Duncan. He is awkward, out of his depth and miserable and hasn't yet found his place in the world, beautifully played by Liam James. His mother, the excellent Toni Collette had a vulnerability and desperation in her relationship with her new moody man (Steve Carrell), great to see him in a serious role playing a selfish and somewhat callous lover. The film reeled me in and I quickly warmed to it. There's something about holiday homes on the beach and summer heat that is very appealing. Anyway the boy looks for an escape from the group of boozy out of control adults and mum's boyfriend with whom he cannot connect, and finds it at a local water park and also a zany park attendant (Sam Rockwell) who has a detachment from authority that really appeals to Duncan. He also gets to know the girl living in the house next door (AnnaSophia Robb) who is as reluctant as he is to be there with her loud perpetually soused mother (Allison Janney) and little brother. The film is sad, sometimes tense but also funny and uplifting, it has it all. A really enjoyable movie with a great cast that I will watch again. The directors/writers, Nat Faxon and Jim Rash did a great job weaving an uplifting drama and both make notable cameo appearances. I saw Jim Rash recently in an episode of According to Jim in which he made an hilarious cameo appearance as a video store clerk. He brings the same dead pan humour to this. Anyway I loved the film and recommend it to anyone looking for a change from Rom Coms and SciFi beat em ups. You'll enjoy it.
2014-01-05
Film Review: The Way, Way Back (2013) Comedy, Drama
The Way, Way Back is a funny, lighthearted, and moving coming of age story set in the present day about a 14-year-old named Duncan (Liam James) and his summer vacation in Massachusetts with his mother, Pam (Toni Collette), her domineering boyfriend, Trent (Steve Carell), and his attitude prone daughter, Steph (Zoe Levin). Having a hard time fitting in, the introverted Duncan finds an unexpected friend in gregarious Owen (Sam Rockwell), the irresponsible manager of Water Wizz, a local water park. Here, Duncan is given a part time job and is taken under the playful, sardonic wing of Owen, who acts as more of a Father figure to Duncan than his mom's boyfriend, Trent. Not surprisingly, Duncan loves the park, and the other misfit employees that have grown up around the park's shabby precincts. They are the surrogate family Duncan has been looking for, and he races off to join them every day of the summer without his actual family really noticing. With some new found confidence, Duncan is able to slowly open up and finally find his place in the word. He is able to rally the courage to stand up for himself and his meek mother, have a semi—comfortable relationship with his "girl next door" neighbor (Anna Sophia Robb), and even learns to dance and be "cool" all during a summer he will never forget.

Though seldom laugh-out-loud funny, The Way, Way Back is the kind of movie that puts a smile on your face and keeps it there. It's warm and charming, with sincerity and affection. It's a modest story about growing up with the not-so-perfect families that fate often hands you, but within this, the movie is compelling and features a handful of winning performances from the cast.

The writers (Nat Faxon and Jim Rash), who also co-directed and have small roles in the film, take a fairly straightforward story of growing up with divorce and make it feel fresh and real. This authenticity gives the movie its witty, relatable edge. These writers are experts in recognizing mood and in their directorial debut, used lightening (among editing and other things) to prevent the film from spiraling into an after-school special. The writers do a phenomenal job exploring human interaction and gender relations in a film that could easily be overlooked.

The Way, Way Back is a quality movie that will touch a chord in anyone who once felt marooned in a world that didn't seem to care. I highly recommend it to any potential viewers.
2013-12-04
A summer vacation that changed life for a 14-year-old
From the two new directors debuting with this fine drama about a loner teenager. It was like the boy version of Hilary Duff's 'According to Greta', had all the elements like separated parents, struggling teenager, cheating husband and the summer holiday and job. The story was told from the character Duncan who is trying hard to fit in his new family.

'The Way, Way Back' tells the story of a 14 year-old Duncan who goes to a beach house in a small town for the summer vacation with his mother and her new boyfriend. Duncan was not happy and so his step father who talks tough with him. The vacation is the chance to understand each other but it won't go according to their plan. Each of them find their way of happiness, sometimes it ends in disappointment with others. Whether their bond strengthens or not is where the movie concludes with the simple ending.

Emotionally the movie had the upper hand than what they have called it as a dark comedy. Well written script by the duo who won Oscars for 'The Descendants'. Some of the portions of the movie were very nice like Duncan's job at the water park. Where Sam Rockwell comes across to cheer up him as well the movie. The rest of the movie was a little slow in pace, especially it was a slow take off from the opening and the end was also very plain. A good movie to watch if you are okay with the slow pace. Recommended.

8/10
2013-11-09
very ..nostalgic
since i am a 49 year old person,but feel ..kind of young,i really enjoyed this movie.although you 've basically have seen all this before,the troubled shy kid ,the cool ..mentor,the adults problems.another example if you make something with good taste you have a winner.of course it helps if you have an outstanding cast ,like Toni and Sam and ..dick carell ha ha.the kids also played great.it's all about u find a special situation,a place,people, which you belong to.i think everybody craves for such whether young or old ,any living thing.very warm movie.hey ,in the end ,i,and the rest of the planet, like to think the two went back . tell me it is so.THAT was the power magic of this movie.GREAT ,JUST GREAT 11111 OOOOPS SORRY !!!!!!!! HAHAHAHA
2016-07-27
Really hit home for me
"Before you know kindness as the deepest thing inside, you must know sorrow as the other deepest thing"- Naomi Shihab Nye

Directed and co-written by Nat Faxon and Jim Rash who won an Oscar for the Best Adapted Screenplay for The Descendants, The Way Way Back is a warmhearted and beautifully realized teen comedy that is as poignant as it is funny. Though there are more coming-of-age films than references to God in the Bible, very few have really hit home for me as much as this one. Of course, there are the usual complaints from critics about how it "doesn't break any new ground" as if it was a construction site, but to me it felt fresh and alive with real and relatable characters far removed from the stereotypes of most films in this genre.

In the film, 14-year-old Duncan (Liam James) is a sullen, withdrawn adolescent whose shaky self-image is not helped by his divorced mother Pam's (Toni Collette) and her obnoxious boyfriend Trent (Steve Carell), or his snippy daughter Steph (Zoe Levin). On the drive to spend the summer at Trent's beach house called "The Riptide," Trent asks him how he would rate himself on a scale of one to ten. Not normally being asked to rate oneself, Duncan might have said "two thumbs up," if he thought about it, but all he can think of to say is a six.

When Trent tells him (calling him Buddy as he does throughout the film as if he has no name) that he thinks he is a three because he doesn't put himself out to people, he might think he is showing some tough love, but the result is that Duncan is pushed deeper into his shell. As Albert Einstein said, "Only two things are infinite, the universe and human stupidity, and I'm not sure about the former." At the New England beach house as his mother tries to make everyone happy, Duncan has to deal with adults whose maturity level on a scale of one to ten might be so low as to be off the charts. There is the boozy and off-the-wall neighbor Betty (Allison Janney) as well as Trent's friends Kip and Joan (Robb Corddry and Amanda Peet), all engaging in what Betty calls "Spring break for adults."

To make matters more uncomfortable, Betty's daughter Susanna (AnnaSophia Robb), who is slightly older than Duncan, tries to engage him in conversation but the stoop-shouldered boy is too withdrawn to respond. He is more at ease with Betty's younger son Peter (River Alexander) who is constantly being teased about his unfocused left eye. On one of his frequent bike rides on the pink bike he discovers in the garage, however, Duncan finds a kindred spirit at the Wizz World Water Park in the person of Owen (Sam Rockwell), the park's manager. As are-free and ungrounded as some of the other adults in the film, Owen has one attribute the others lack. He has a terrific sense of humor and takes an interest in the people around him.

These include long-time employee Maya Rudolph (Caitlyn) who had only planned to stay one summer but is drawn back by Owen's charm and wit. Owen also takes an interest in Duncan but it is not the "brother you need help" attitude. He gives him a job at the park's pools and water slides to help boost his self-esteem, a job which neither Trent nor his mother know anything about. Sam Rockwell's performance as Owen is pitch-perfect. Even though his communication with Duncan is mostly full of wisecracks, there is an underlying connection between the two that is not based on need alone. Pure and simple, they like each other and it shows, as does the remarkable chemistry displayed by the entire ensemble cast.

Duncan's transformation happens gradually, however. As he finds himself being accepted by the park's employees, his shoulders begin to straighten out, there is a hint of a smile on his face as well as a new look of confidence. Lian James, a Vancouver actor, not only disappears into the role of Duncan, he is Duncan and his struggle to reconnect with the world he has been estranged from is so honest and painful that we identify with him and want to help him, in Langston Hughes words, "to break his shadow into a thousand lights of sun." As in many great films, The Way Way Back has laughter and tears in equal measure.
2013-08-04
A Heartwarming Coming-Of-Age Tale
In all honesty, I completely loved this film, it is one of the most heartwarming coming-of-age stories of recent years and blends comedy, drama and emotion perfectly. With top notch performances, most notably from Sam Rockwell as the overzealous-yet-lovable waterpark manager Owen and Steve Carrel as the somewhat unexpectedly despicable Trent, both James and Robb also do wonders as the young duo. The film itself has a nice indie feel to it with a fantastic acoustic score, supported by some fine music choices and a generally satisfying story as a whole. A definite must-watch if you enjoy coming-of-age dramas with that hint of heartwarming humour.
2016-04-02
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