Movie Review: The Way Way Back

TheWayWayBackDuncan (Liam James) is an awkward, introverted 14-year-old boy on vacation with his mother Pam (Toni Collette), her boyfriend Trent (Steve Carell) and his daughter Steph (Zoe Levin).

Trent is trying to win Duncan over by being a father substitute, but he is an overbearing ass and he is achieving the exact opposite.

They travel to an eastern beach town to spend the summer. In the close-knit community of the regulars at their beach houses, Duncan feels terribly out of place.

On his excursions to the village he eventually makes friends with the staff of the Water Wizz water park. The manager takes him under his wings and slowly things are changing for Duncan.

The Way Way Back is a coming of age story. Made by the same studio that brought Little Miss Sunshine and Juno, this movie brings about the same kind of mood. It portrays family life without overt drama but the subtle, real-life challenges in relationships that we can all relate to.

The byline “We’ve All Been There” says it well. Duncan is alone, surrounded by people who see him but don’t know him, and somehow he does not have a choice but to cope.

After the movie was over and the credits rolled, all I could think of was: What a nice, warm story!

Rating: ***

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