The Way Way Back
Release year: 2013
Director: Nat Faxon, Jim Rash
Screenwriter: Nat Faxon, Jim Rash
Starring: Liam James, Steve Carell, Toni Collette, Allison Janney, AnnaSophia Robb, Sam Rockwell, Maya Rudolp, Amanda Peet
Duncan (Liam James) is going on holiday with his mum Pam (Toni Collette), her boyfriend Trent (Steve Carell) and Trent’s daughter Steph (Zoe Levin). Duncan is shy and his relationship with the new man in his mum’s life is far from perfect, but when wandering off he meets Owen (Sam Rockwell) who is manager at the Water Wizz water park and Owen turns out to be just what Duncan’s life needed.
The titel refers to Duncan’s seating in the car on the way to the beach house; way way back in the car where he, while his mother and Steph sleeps, must listen to something resembling verbal abuse from his mother’s boyfriend. From the beginning Duncan is someone you like and pity. He is shy, withdrawn, awkward and obviously not very happy. All emotions that an excellent Liam James (Horsemen, 2009) manage to show with almost no words. It is pure pleasure to follow Duncan’s development as he befriends an adult who treats him no different than everyone else and therebye helps Duncan find his path. Rockwell (Moon, 2009) is a perfect cast as the manager who has never grown up to become a responsible adult. He oozes charm and charisma and though he may be irresponsible and lazy, he is also kind and so damn likeable that it is no wonder love-interest Caitlin, played by a pleasureable authentic Maya Rudolph (Bridesmaids, 2011), never gives up on him. Though Carell (The 40 Year Old Virgin, 2005) lately has played several dramatic roles as opposed to the comedic roles he is mostly known for, he usually plays a likeable guy and it surprises just how brilliant he is at playing a real bastard. His Trent is someone you love to hate. He is supported by the always amazing Collette (The Sixth Sense, 1999) who also played oposite Carell in ‘Little Miss Sunshine‘ (2006), as the mother torn between the new love in her life and a son who is obviously hurting. It is a sweet story about life, the difficulties of being a teenager and from a broken family and finding the courage to believe in yourself, filled with wonderful characters, waterslides and a horrible mum with a cross-eyed son. In the end you will be left with a huge smile, already missing the characters in this amazing sunny story.
Writer/director Jim Rash (The Descendants 2011) said in an interview that his main inspiration for the movie was the opening scene, which was inspired by a similar conversation with his own stepdad when he was 14.
Picture copyright: Scanbox