Jul 26, 2013

Movie Review: The Way, Way Back

MOVIE REVIEW:  WAY, WAY BACK                                    A-

The Way, Way Back is a coming-of-age story centered on a 14-year-old boy, Duncan, who is dreadfully shy. His mother Pam (Toni Collete) and her boyfriend of almost a year, Trent (Steve Carrel), take Duncan to Trent’s house in a beach community for the summer. In terms of socialization, it’s sink
or swim for everyone. The adults cavort with other couples in a summertime way that one teen girl labels "spring break for the parents." The teens are too full of earned angst and painful awkwardness for much cavorting, but they do stand, sit, and play near each other.

Sam Rockwell is Owen, manic owner and theoretical manager of a water-slide fiefdom, which draws youngsters by the dozen. For Duncan, it acts as another world—somewhat like the other side of the tracks, compared to the upper-middle-class families that surround his mother and prospective stepfather.

There. I don’t think I’ve spoiled anything, and I declare this popcorn-welcome movie worth seeing. It’s a comedy with realism and substance.

I have some questions for who have seen it:

         What do you make of the vintage Buick station wagon? It’s clearly supposed to mean something.

         Alison Janney’s wonderfully acted role as Betty, next-door neighbor, is somewhere between amusing and hysterical. On a scale of 1 (low) - 5 (high)  how well do you like her?

    With which of the adults do you sympathize? Remember, unlike condescending pity, sympathy involves respect and probably some sense of connection with the character in question.

    Are you satisfied with the ending? Is it insufficiently romantic, or too romantic, or just right? Is your answer different for the teens compared to the adults?


Anonymous said...

I haven't seen the movie yet, but as for Alison Jenney, she always delights me. Character actors tend to make or break a movie (for me, at any rate). Some are unrecognizable from one film to the next, others have a certain dependability. I like both styles, and would put Jenney in the latter.

Banjo52 said...

Me too, Karin. She's about as good as it gets. Did you see her as the cynical alcoholic prof in "Liberal Arts," which was also a very nice movie?

Rune Eide said...

I must admit that I haven't seen (or heard of the movie - I'm not much of a movie-fan)), but I can enjoy your photos :-)

John Evans said...

The trailer has me looking forward to the next trip to the mainland. Thanks for putting out the word.

Pasadena Adjacent said...

I haven't seen it. Is it in the theaters or out on video?

but now I want to. I'm a fan of Tony Collete.

Banjo52 said...

Rune, thanks.

PA, it's still in theaters. And yes, she's very good.

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