The Way Way Back (Movie Review)

Definitely one of my favorite (if not favorite) movies of the year.   You guys remember “Wild Bill” on The Green Mile?   As a child rapist and murderer, Wild Bill’s character is perhaps one of the most unlikeable characters in any movie.  In The Way Way Back, I can honestly say, Sam Rockwell may play the most likable character I’ve ever encountered in any movie.

So basically, you have a young boy (Duncan) whose dead-beat dad is out of the picture while his mom is dating a overbearing, verbally-abusive, dishonest man, played by Steve Carell.  This group of three, joined with Carell’s daughter, go to a vacation house and interact with Carell’s “summer vacation” friends.  The interactions amongst these folks are so real and so relatable as they take your emotions on an emotional roller-coaster.

Duncan, who is already burdened by an absent father, finds himself unsure of himself, his confidence plummeting, and with no one who understands him;  he is also emotionally tortured by his mother’s boyfriend, while his mother is uninvolved, unaware of, and perhaps content with being naive to the abuse.  The summer could not get any worse.

Until Duncan discovers the “Water Wizz Water Park” where this awkward, endearing, adolescent, underdog finds friends that love him, profound acceptance and popularity, unexpected fun, purpose, and most importantly a “fatherly figure” in the sharp-tongued, sarcastic, lazy, care-free and yet loving and wise owner of the park, Owen (played by Sam Rockwell). Words can’t describe just how hilarious and likable Owen is and how you’ll find yourself excited, along with Duncan, by the acceptance and boost of morale that he receives through the friendship and new job opportunity to work at the park.

Brought to you by the same folks that brought “Little Miss Sunshine” and “Juno,” this one is a must see.  For us folks that call ourselves Christians, we definitely need to find a hidden “christian message” to justify watching a “secular movie,” right?  Ha! Wrong.  Can you say……entertainment is a gift from God??

However, I can’t help but consider the implications here, for every person ever, of how important finding community is.  This boy finds community and as a result, profoundly changes the trajectory of him and his mom’s jacked-up life.  Go see this movie.  Thank me later.

What do you think?

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