Film Review: “The Way Way Back”

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The Way Way Back, 2013

dir. Nat Faxon, Jim Rash


Where do I begin? Well, first of all, I’d just like to say how refreshing it is to see Steve Carrell play a douche! Seriously, I loved it. He does it so well, I can’t believe it’s the first I’m hearing of this. Usually he’s that guy who is a bit silly but loveable anyway, but in this film, he’s that horrible “step”-father we all have encountered in our travels.

There is not one bit of this which I did not enjoy, to be honest. Liam James’s Duncan was the perfect amount of awkward and shy that made his coming of age believable and thoroughly enjoyable. All the characters, in fact, where so tridimensional, they had motivations and development, and frankly, I thought that was quite fantastic, since it was such a short movie.

Most of all, The Way Way Back is the ultimate proof that the Nat Faxon-Jim Rash team totally works. They won an Academy Award a couple of years ago for The Descendants, and I definitely foresee a golden statue for them in 2014. (Fingers crossed.) Both of them are actually in this film as minor characters who don’t exactly steal the show, but are so great you can’t help but love them. Faxon plays cool-guy Roddy who, along with Sam Rockwell’s Owen, teaches Duncan how to break out of his shell a little bit. And Rash plays germaphobe Lewis, who keeps saying he’ll leave Water Wizz, but never really does.

(Spoiler alert: he doesn’t.)

Sam Rockwell was, as usual, wonderful. He’s funny and witty, and talks so so fast. He’s got that chill vibe about him, but also has a heart and is such an amazing father figure I could cry. (Actually, I almost did.) (Almost.) And he has such great chemistry with Maya Rudolph, who is also absolutely brilliant, always bringing heart and soul to a character that could have been terribly annoying.

The whole thing just works. The young actors have great chemistry, as well as the older actors. In fact, the cast work seamlessly in unison, it’s wonderful to watch. (*mutters to self* I will not fangirl over Toni Collette, I will not fangirl over Toni Collette.) It all plays so well together with the lovely seaside location and the music.

But something I really absolutely loved was how the water park was portrayed. Just normal people everywhere, skinny people, fat people, kids of all shapes, sizes and colours, they were all laughing ad having fun, and rushing towards the water slides – it was like watching a real-life water park, and that was lovely to see.

Overall, this was a fantastic film. Worthy of a re-watch, in fact. I could not recommend it more.

  review by Mariana Duarte


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