InReview InReview

Support independent journalism

Film & TV

The Way Way Back

Film & TV

Comments Print article

Uncomfortably awkward Duncan is dragged on a summer vacation by his mother Pam (Toni Collette) – along with her new boyfriend Trent (Steve Carell) and his disinterested daughter Steph – to a small coastal resort full of pretentious parents and their bronzed offspring.

Unhappy with his mother’s choice of lover, Duncan (Liam James) drifts toward the town’s main attraction, the Water Whizz theme park, and its charismatic manager Owen (Sam Rockwell).

As Pam’s summer holiday turns into the quintessential nightmare of betrayal, Duncan finds life as an employee at the water park exactly what he requires to step up to the plate of responsibility – superbly aided and abetted by the original prankster Owen (himself battling to win the affections of a fellow employee).

Duncan’s summer of discovery shoots all the rapids of juvenile discontent and comes up laughing. While it is primarily a rather ordinary coming-of-age tale, the performances of Rockwell as the theme park’s Peter Pan and Collette as the hostess with too much finger food combine to lift both the movie and its adolescent protagonist out of the humdrum and into the sparkling blue of seaside come-uppances.

The Way Way Back has its fair share of predatory females, clam bakes, fireworks, yachts and teenage angst, and all without anyone using a mobile phone, too, but over and above this it has something else: a rare and genuine sense of humour and a sense of enlivenment.



Make a comment View comment guidelines

Support local arts journalism

Your support will help us continue the important work of InReview in publishing free professional journalism that celebrates, interrogates and amplifies arts and culture in South Australia.

Donate Here


Show comments Hide comments
Will my comment be published? Read the guidelines.

. You are free to republish the text and graphics contained in this article online and in print, on the condition that you follow our republishing guidelines.

You must attribute the author and note prominently that the article was originally published by InReview.  You must also inlude a link to InReview. Please note that images are not generally included in this creative commons licence as in most cases we are not the copyright owner. However, if the image has an InReview photographer credit or is marked as “supplied”, you are free to republish it with the appropriate credits.

We recommend you set the canonical link of this content to to insure that your SEO is not penalised.

Copied to Clipboard

More Film & TV stories

Loading next article