Big-budget movies about aliens, robots and Earth after civilization filled the theaters this summer. But in between all the special effects came a movie that was not like the others. “The Way, Way Back” is a heartfelt, coming-of-age story that does not need 3-D to make it entertaining. The simplicity of superior acting, humor and human emotion is what makes this movie so good.
Introverted 14-year-old Duncan is stuck going on vacation with his mother, her boyfriend and the boyfriend’s daughter. The boyfriend, played by Steve Carell, does not treat Duncan right, and Duncan’s mother, played by Toni Collette, does not seem to notice. To escape the broken family and the neighbors who cheat, drink and smoke pot, Duncan finds refuge in a nearby water park and its employees. It is there, at Water Wizz, where Duncan discovers his voice and who he is.
“The Way, Way Back” is a breath of fresh air. It has a strong, likable cast that brings humor to every scene. The one downside to the movie is having to see the usually lovable Carell play a cold character, though he does it well.
This Sundance Film Festival Official Selection is definitely worth seeing.