— Ryan Gosling as Jacob Palmer from
Crazy, Stupid, Love, 2011
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October 1, 2013
The Way Way Back is summer at its best
— Posted by Roland King
This is a beautiful, heart-warming story of rebirth that even in such a short time and under such circumstances, it touches to the depth of the soul. It is unlikely that a summer at an Aqua park and several new acquaintances can abruptly change one’s life, but this is precisely what happens in the The Way Way Back.
The studio which brought us such heartwarming stories as Juno and Little Miss Sunshine restores our faith in humanity once more with yet another life-affirming, gentle, slightly clumsy, but nevertheless charming comedy. This time, the point of view belongs to a socially-awkward teenage boy (Liam James), who is constantly bullied by his mom’s douchebag boyfriend (Steve Carell) and also has no basics of social knowledge whatsoever.
Duncan is alone, Duncan is desperate, Duncan is a classical loser. He has no friends and never had one and his mother could not care less, as she is distracted by her new abundant boyfriend. Duncan is depressed and had lost faith, and this is exactly when his mother’s appalling boyfriend decides to bring the whole family to his summer beach house. Who could have ever thought that this innocent trip would change lives so drastically?
A hopeless loser Duncan meets a genuine spiritual mentor (Sam Rockwell), who explains to him that he has to believe in himself and do not care about those who make fun of him. Duncan understands, what it means to stand up for himself, he learns self-respect and dignity. He finds a cute girl who, of course, is at first confused, but then falls for changing Duncan more and more. All the way through the movie, we trace the emergence of Duncan as a man and as a person. These changes come easily and fluently in the relaxed atmosphere of a summer of frivolity. It takes only one dig deeper, and immediately comes the realization that this is not just a mindless comedy aimed at the budget fees. It is a gentle, witty, and very visual guide on how to become a real man, how to be strong, and how stand behind your words. How to find some strength inside that you never knew existed and how to use it properly. How to be man, how to love, how to live.
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