There are still some great movies in your cinemas. Jo tells you not to miss The Way Way Back!
We’ve all been there. We all know the story. Its happened to me, you and everyone around you. You’d think that maybe we’d be board of it by now but then a gem such as The Way Way Back reminds you why the coming of age genre will never fade into obscurity. The story of the end to adolescence is eternal, introducing us to a character finding his way in the world.
In this case, it is fourteen year old Duncan (Liam James), our uncertain and isolated lead. Duncan travels to a beach town for the summer along with his mother Pam, (Toni Collette), her boyfriend Trent, (Steve Carell) and his spoilt daughter Steph. Trent is almost emotionally abusing towards Duncan, though his mother can’t see. They travel to Cape Cod, supposedly an ideal summer destination. For Duncan, this isn’t the case and he is alone; distanced from his mother. For Duncan, it is a nightmare. With no one to communicate with, Duncan finds a pink girls bike in the shed and sets out to explore the town. He makes friends with Owen, (Sam Rockwell) the manager of a local water park where he begins working. It’s here that Duncan feels at home and with the help of Owen and his band of misfit staff he begins to find comfort from home and find himself.
James is great as Duncan, the troubled and un-confident teenager. As the story progresses, we see Duncan’s confidence grow and thus, James grows with him. He breaks down but picks himself back up and knows that he has friends that will help him.
He has a blosoming friendship with Sophia (Anna Sophia Robb) despite the fact that she looks like another in-crowder. Bikini clad with long blond hair she seems so far away from Duncan’s world. But the more we look, her silences tells us there is more to her than meets the eye. She is fighting her own battles and becomes intrigued by the quiet boy next door.
Carrell’s Trent is truly despicable, (without a minion in sight). A character that can switch from charm to malice in the blink of an eye. The films opening, as he asks a hunched Duncan to rate himself before rating him a three, proves his manipualtive horrid behaivour. His character offers a life of partying and romance for Duncans mother Pam but only insults and humiliation for Duncan. Trent stands as a testament to Carell’s credentials as a serious actor as well as a great comedy performer.
Collette is wonderful as Pam who is torn between her own happiness and the happiness of her child. She wants Duncan and Trent to get along and become a family. not seeing Trent’s cold treatment of him.
But why is the coming of age/rites of passage genre still such a thrill if we’ve seen it all before? Its an eternal tale that will always, in one one or another be relatable. The journey from innocence to experience is something that we all face and knowing that makes our own tales that much more precious. There are a lot of great coming of age tales out there and now we have one more. The Way Way Back is a worthy edition to the bunch with a heartfelt story and lovable characters that you will route for with every viewing. With every awkward stumble, Duncan makes your fill with nostalgia.
Unless you were always happy and mentally healthy.
If you have’t had to make that most horrid of journeys from awkwardness and uncertainty then you my friend are clearly not with geek!
The Way Way Back is in cinemas now!