Starring: Liam James, Toni Collette, Steve Carrell, Allison Janney, AnnaSophia Robb, Sam Rockwell, Maya Rudolph, Amanda Peet
Written by: Nat Faxon, Jim Rash
With The Way, Way Back - we come back into the game. It's a brilliant and wonderful film that lands on a very fine line between too nostalgic and just right. It's a coming of age film that goes through several transformations - brilliantly paced and all heartfelt.
Duncan (Liam James) is a 14 year old who just can't catch a break. First, his dad and mum break up - they're left on their own for a time. Then, her mother (Toni Collette) shacks up with the frontrunner for Worst Father Of The Year award, Trent (Steve Carrell) and his domineering daughter. They are then taken to a beach house where all the adults seem to be in a state of lost youthfulness. Duncan decides to avoid the 'spring break for adults' theme and stumbles upon a water park run by the effervescent Owen (Rockwell). He slowly, thanks to a little nudging, a dance battle and the friendship/love of a girl, comes out of his shell.
It's a showcase for Rockwell, who performs with such ease that it's hard not to fall in line with his charm.
The real wonder of this story is that it makes no excuses, makes no attempts to be anything more than it is. It is the directorial debut of two writers who are clearly well versed in the genre - one which has always been tricky to get right. But both Faxon and Rash show a real lack of cynicism and self-deprecation that allows this coming of age tale to become something wonderful and refreshing.
The script hits everything right on the nose, the cast are all committed and believable in their roles (in a way that will have you jeering at Carrell's 'Trent' out loud, along with the rest of the audience), and plays with a heartwarming sincerity throughout. The soundtrack, while not overt, is similarly well paced - the music accentuates emotions delicately, instead of falling into the trap of just signposting them. It's clearly a very reflective and introspective movie - it'll have most of it's audience harking back to their own developing years with ease.
Duncan's growing pains are not breaking new ground in the genre, but it's hard not to get swept up in them anyway.
It's a film that will keep on bowling you over - and you'll love it for doing that.
What the Mr. Thought:
By no means an original film, it is definitely one that I can wholeheartedly recommend watching. It's just as inspiring and charming as any coming of age tale of recent years, if not more so. It's a perfect summer film with a very applicable release date - it'll have you pining for the start of the summer all over again. The pervasive nostalgic atmosphere that permeates the film will only heighten your enjoyment of it, not dampen it.
What the Misses Thought:
Putting it simply; what a beautiful film!
Easy going, funny and relaxing, this is one of the most simple yet brilliant films we have seen for a long time. I love seeing the evolution of an awkward character, gaining strength and confidence. It's entertaining but also so heartwarming.
If you're stuck on what to see at the cinema I would whole heatedly recommend this film. While it may not be perfect (but what really is?) It's a lovely watch that will leave you smiling.
But remember, you didn't hear that from us!
The Mr and the Misses!
P.S. - Apologies for not having posted for awhile - we have been watching films but have been incredibly busy in preparing our upcoming Kickstarter campaign (more on that later!).