Let me start off by saying this: The Way Way Back is absolute perfection. I was expecting something in the vein of Juno, which wasn’t at all a bad thing and I was incredibly optimistic. However, I was wrong. No film has shown the agony and angst of teenage life since The Breakfast Club in 1985. That was until The Way Way Back.
Firstly, Jim Rash and Nat Faxon are welcome additions to the indie comedy circuit. Their directorial debut was absolutely stunning, and is a welcome follow-up to their Academy Awards for writing the amazing The Descendants. The film was so simplistic in cinematography, it was beautiful. Less is more seemed to be their motto, and the film was so beautifully put together.
Secondly, it has an amazing cast – Steve Carell playing so against-type was surprising (and excites me for the upcoming Foxcatcher). If he keeps this up, I see him becoming a seriously huge dramatic actor and Academy Award winner (hopefully for Foxcatcher). Toni Collette was also wonderful – she played it down and gave a very subtle performance similar to Little Miss Sunshine (this film had a very LMS feel to it, which is further driven in by the presence of Carell and Collette). Sam Rockwell impressed me tremendously – I always knew he was a great actor, but never did I think he was this brilliant. Then of course there was scene-stealer Allison Janney, who shows how one can move from comedy to drama to comedy flawlessly. Finally, Liam James – wow…that kid is going to be HUGE one day.
The writing was spectacular. It was superior to a lot of screenplays today. The jokes never felt flat, the characterization was beautiful and these two forty year old men knew exactly how it feels to be a confused teenager. A true achievement
I could definitely see this going the way of Juno, Little Miss Sunshine, Lost in Translation and Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind, and winning the Original Screenplay Academy Award. In an ideal world, Rockwell or Carell get nominated for Supporting Actor.
A marvelous film and definitely one of the best of the year