The Way Way Back tells the story of fourteen year old Duncan, painfully lacking in self-confidence, who’s stuck on a beach holiday with his insecure Mom, her new boyfriend Trent, and Trent’s snarly mean-girl daughter Steph. Fleeing the increasingly dysfunctional family dynamics (it’s no coincidence that their holiday home is called “The Riptide”) Duncan seeks and finds refuge at a rickety old waterpark managed by the cheerful wastrel Owen and a cast of lunatics.
So what can I tell you? Well, simply put: is one of the best films I’ve seen all year. Sensitive, thoughtful, sweet, touching and riotously funny, it’s packed with wry social observation, cringing coming of age embarrassment and magnificent force-of-nature performances. Alison Janney is stand-out, both teen leads are superb, and Steve Carrell as Trent is deliciously odious. But the heart and soul is Sam Rockwell. He’s fantastic here. The Way Way Back filmed in Massachussetts, specifically at the Water Wizz – seriously – in Wareham.