The Way Way Back

STORY BY Talia Aroshas

Published: July 16, 2013

I have always been a rather steadfast champion of coming-of-age movies; take that any which way you want, for me it has most to do with the genre’s ability to tug at your heartstrings while mixing humor, drama, and romance together in the emotional melting pot that is life.

So when about to see Fox Searchlight’s new picture, The Way Way Back for the first time, I was as giddy as a schoolgirl in a brand new uniform dress. And with such high hopes, it’s a good thing I wasn’t let down.

The charming, loveably witty story centers around the awkward glory of 14 year old Duncan as he finds himself negligently brought to the Massachusetts beach house of his mother Pam’s jerk boyfriend; with of course his mother, said jerk boyfriend, and said jerk boyfriend’s daughter in tow. Seemingly prepared for the worst summer of his life, his predictions take a turn for the better as he stumbles upon an unlikely friend in the form of a local water park manager; here he begins secret employment, and furthermore, the age old journey of finding himself.

Now, please don’t use this corny description as your deciding factor on weather or not to see this movie; note, rather, that I have the inability to offer this movie the rightful justice it deserves in plot description. However, more important than the somewhat predictable plot, is the clever, hilarious, and heartwarming way in which it is delivered, as well as the stellar all -star cast that completes it.

New -comer Liam James makes a stellar debut as the timid teen, while Toni Collette shines as an insecure, single mother with a heart of gold. Most surprising is Steve Carrel in the role of the aforementioned jerk boyfriend, as he plays it almost too convincingly, and unlike any other performance we’ve seen from him before.  However, stealing the show is both Alison Janney and Sam Rockwell with their brilliantly humorous portrayals of the cooky neighbor and water park manager, respectively.

Co written, co directed, and co starred  (as water park employees) by Nat Faxon and Jim Rash (the brilliant team behind 2011’s hit, “The Descendants”), this endearing, hilarious story is, in my opinion, way better, and fueled with great life messages, uplifting to the infinitive degree, and suitable for all personality types, unless, of course, you don’t enjoy enjoying things.

I liked it so much I saw it twice already. And laughed, both times, all the way through.

I’d see it a third. 

Other Stories by Talia Aroshas
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