REVIEW: The Way, Way Back (Movie)

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Every once in a while, I go see a movie that doesn’t have any visual effects or anything supernatural about it.  It’s just a really good story.  That’s what I found when I went to see The Way, Way Back.  It’s definitely a simple story, something that really doesn’t take us away from our real lives, and may even remind us of it, but not in a way that should be depressing.  More in a way that should remind us of the awkwardness of growing up and finding your own person, without having anyone rate you or label you.

This is a story about a boy who is forced to spend time at a summer beach house, at first not wanting to find a way to fit in, but finding himself befriending an eclectic group all the same.  There’s humor and compassion and heartache in equal measure that doesn’t go overboard in the emotion, which almost makes it easy to swallow because we understand the character and the change and the circumstances of his situation.

What really makes the simple story of a boy struggling to find his way with his divorced mom, is the amazing cast, most of all from the talents of Allison Janney as the eccentric single mother/neighbor named Betty, and Sam Rockwell, who plays Owen, the manager of the Water Wizz park, and becomes the main protagonist’s adult (yet kid-at-heart) friend and confidante and surrogate “big brother.”

When the main protagonist, Duncan, played by Liam James, comes on the screen, he’s full of awkwardness, vulnerability, and uncertainty, and yet through all that, he’s able to find people who embrace him as he is, not having to change from the outside in, but from the inside out.  His awkwardness becomes charming in more ways than one without overdoing it.

All other supporting actors, including Steve Carell, Toni Collette, Anna Sophia Robb, and Maya Rudolph were excellent in their roles and I found I appreciated all of what they gave to the film.  Like I said, the movie has a simple story, but very easy to watch for just for the people that graced the screen.  They didn’t have to be super attractive or super heroic, or even super sexual or foul; they were just real and all they had to be was true to their character, which they were.

I thoroughly enjoyed this moving and I’ve never appreciated Sam Rockwell more than in this movie.

Not only that, we got this nifty cool shirt that I can actually wear!  And I will wear it!

The Way, Way Back shirt

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