Film Review: The Way, Way Back

My memories of being, say, seventeen to thirty-something are like a beautiful, slightly hazy and abridged novella. Conversely, I remember being fourteen with crystal clarity. Awkward. Lazy. Insecure. At best, I would have ranked around four-and-a-half out of ten. Meet Duncan (Liam James). He’s fourteen and is ranked a solid three. By his mother’s boyfriend.

A decent drawcard for this flick is the man who plays Duncan’s pretend daddy: Steve Carell. The other big name attached to The Way, Way Back is Toni Collette. In anticipation, I was conjuring up images of a 40-year-old virgin lamp lover married to an awkward ABBA fan with multiple personality disorder. Not exactly the case. We’re led down a more ‘relate to me in a dramomedy kind of way’ and ‘coming of age’ pathway. Which is fine by me. My movie marathons usually travel from The Little Mermaid through to I Stand Alone, so this sits comfortably at the gentle end of the spectrum.

Duncan is faced with an excruciating summer getaway with his slightly shitty parents and their ‘eff being a role model’ quirky friends and neighbours. Cue some escapism in the form of a clandestine job at the local water park. It is here that Duncan finds a slightly abstracted form of his absent parental role models in Owen (Sam Rockwell).

Owen is the manager at Water Wiz. Slacker. Rebel. Non-fuck-giver. As things progress, Owen highlights the way for Duncan to grow into his own skin, believe in himself and just ‘be’. From here on in, things just fall into place, which is also just fine. Some might complain about this film being formulaic, etc. Piss off. Go and watch your Director’s Cut Double Disc Blu Ray of Somersault, or whatever impeccable taste film is in your collection.

This film promises little more than laughter and it drew that out of me. I tend to agree with the saying “Laughter is the best medicine.”

RATING: LOL out of 10



Review by Philip Erbacher. Check your local listings for The Way, Way Back’s release date. To find out more click here.