Starring: Steve Carell, Toni Collette, Allison Janney, Sam Rockwell, Maya Rudolph, Liam James
More info: IMDb
Plot: The Way, Way Back tells the story of 14-year-old Duncan’s awkward, funny, and sometimes painful summer vacation with his mother, Pam, her overbearing boyfriend, Trent, and his daughter, Steph. Although Duncan has a tough time fitting in and finding his place, he does find an unlikely ally and mentor in Owen, a carefree employee at the local waterpark where Duncan gets a job. Over the course of the summer, as his mother drifts further away, Duncan—with encouragement from Owen—begins to open up and come into his own.
My rating: 9/10
Will I watch it again? Count on it.
There have been a few moments at the Sundance Film Festival where I’ve shed a tear or two during a flick. BREATHE IN (2013) got the most out of me I think. I had no idea I would be an emotional mess after watching the beautifully touching and wonderfully funny THE WAY, WAY BACK. Steve Carell isn’t the one bringing the funny although there are a couple of laughs that came his way. He’s playing it straight for a change and I really liked his dramatic turn. Toni Collette as the girlfriend reminds me of Lorraine Gary (you know, the mom from the JAWS movies?) and was fun to watch. Allison Janney as the alcoholic, no filter on her mouth neighbor was so friggin’ funny. She’s like the Tasmanian devil of funny shit, whirring onto the frame at 27 laughs per minute and then whirring off. She needs to stop what she's doing and have my babies. Her son was just as funny. Goddamn that kid was funny. Then there’s Sam Rockwell who just continues to impress the hell out of me. But most of all, the star of the show is Liam James as Duncan.
This kid was magnificent. He nailed the role of a troubled and inward falling 14 year old. I was so taken with his performance. He’s the glue of the entire picture. His character arc was so challenging and special that I was a fucking mess by the end of the movie. This is a VERY funny film top to bottom and my face is wet from the bits of heart that are thrown into the mix. I was so touched that had I watched this at home, I would have been bawling my eyes out. That’s right, a middle aged man that watches the most gruesome and fucked up shit slapped on film that was cuttin’ loose with the saltwater gushing out of his face. Remember the sweet relationship that Bill Murray had with the kid (Rudy) in MEATBALLS (1978)? That’s exactly the vibe I was getting from Rockwell and James. This is the best film I’ve seen yet at Sundance.