Sunday, July 28, 2013

Movie Review: "The Way, Way Back" (2013)

Movie: "The Way, Way Back"
Director: Nat Faxon and Jim Rash
Rating: PG-13
Running Time: 1 hours, 43 minutes
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A coming-of-age drama revolving around a 14-year old boy named Duncan (Liam James), who is forced to spend the summer at his mom's boyfriend Trent's (Steve Carell) beach house. Trent is, for lack of a better word, an asshole, who has attempted to step into a "fatherly role" for Duncan, but ultimately does things that are more cruel than helpful. Already very socially awkward, Duncan is constantly badgered by Trent and his daughter Steph, and their constant criticisms make him even more introverted.

When he happens to encounter Owen (Sam Rockwell), a very outgoing lifeguard/man-child who works at the local water park, Duncan kind of sort of strikes up a friendship with him, bonding over PacMan. With nothing better to do while his mom Pam (Toni Collette) and Trent get drunk and high all summer, Duncan takes a job at the water park alongside Owen and a collection of colorful friends who take him under their wing and help him start to come out of his shell.

This story very well could have been writer/director Jim Rash's life story. It could be anyone's life story.
The movie is very enjoyable, and it presents itself in a way where viewers can share in Duncan's awkwardness. We often feel for him throughout different circumstances, and many of us can relate to his character. It's half of a summer in the life of a kid growing up and having to deal with divorce, alienation, parents moving on, first kisses, basically: life.

Steve Carell can play a horrible person when he wants to, and the character of Trent is most definitely a jerk. Sam Rockwell is brilliant as Owen: funny, charming, very likable, but at the same time, lacks responsibility, lives life by his own philosophy, and symbolizes everything that is not "by the book."

"You have to go your own way," Owen tells Duncan at one point during the film. This really resonated with me, personally. I wasn't socially awkward as a kid, but always felt like I didn't really belong anywhere in particular. Not all of us have a path laid out for us, sometimes we just have to live life, day by day, and discover it along the way. It might not be what others want for us, and it might not be what's "popular," but it's yours.

My Rating: 7.5/10
BigJ's Rating: 7/10
IMDB's Rating: 7.7/10
Rotten Tomatoes Rating: 83%
Do we recommend this movie: Sure, why not?


  1. This is the kind of movie I love. Will be seeing this asap. Haven't even heard of it before reading this post, which is one of the reasons why I love your blog!

    1. If this is the kind of movie you love, chances are, you'll enjoy this one! Hope you like it, I'd love to hear your thoughts on it! :)

  2. Hello, I came across your blog while I was looking up reviews for this movie. I saw this the other day (my local theater does a cinema arts film series on Wednesdays) and I really loved this film. It was very emotional and had some humor. You really feel for the teen protagonist. I definitely want the DVD now!

    1. Hi Jamie! Thanks for coming to our blog! We really enjoyed this film, too, and I cannot wait to get the DVD. It was such a great movie! Hope you stick around, we always have reviews coming out every day! :)