Last night I found myself in a common predicament – wanting to watch something but not sure what (despite having a huge To Watch list). Having seen The Way Back (2011) and thoroughly enjoyed it, for some reason I had in my mind that The Way Way Back was a spoof of The Way Back. Don’t ask me why. I’m on a bit of a Rockwell Roll at the moment and tada what do you know…he’s in The Way Way Back. So….hmmm….probably not a spoof. And yes, hopelessly wrong…
What a lovely movie this is. Duncan, brilliantly played by Liam James, is a shy teenager who doesn’t really fit in, especially within the dynamics of his mother Pam (the ever brilliant Toni Collette), her new boyfriend Trent (Steve Carell) and his daughter. They all head off for Trent‘s beach house for a holiday. Trent constantly has a go at Duncan and more subtly at Pam, although she doesn’t notice it. During the course of the holiday, needing to keep busy as well as escape the adults, Duncan finds himself at Water Wizz, a local water park. Here he meets outgoing Owen (Sam Rockwell, awesome as usual), the park manager, and other staff members. Although Owen seems to be a carefree and sometimes irresponsible adult, he knows exactly how to get Duncan to come out of his shell without being blatantly obvious. It is just beautiful watching Owen and Duncan‘s interaction, always with respect yet with just enough guidance from Owen. While there were some serious and sad moments (yet never heavy), I thoroughly enjoyed watching Duncan‘s growth and relationships with fellow Water Wizz staff, family (family-to-be) and neighbours.
So, time well worth spent watching The Way Way Back. A reminder to take note of our kids, and ourselves, a bit more. And definitely one to remind us how a single comment to anyone can be hurtful and create self-esteem issues. Especially teenagers who are often struggling to find their space as it is without needing even more pressure.
Directed by Nat Faxon and Jim Rash (they also have great roles), it also stars Amanda Peet, Allison Janney, Maya Rudolph, Rob Corddry, AnnaSophia Robb and River Alexander making for a superb ensemble who gel so well. You’ll probably recognise most of the actors and actresses.