Summary: Duncan is 14 and shy. He also has no real parental unit or even friends to help guide him through the highs and lows of your teen years. His mom is now serious with her boyfriend, Trent, who also has a daughter, and they decide to vacation at the beach for the summer. Trent though seems to be forcing being his father just to appease his mom, and whenever he tries to be someone in his life he just insults him. Duncan feels like a huge burden to his mom as well who seems to only want to sneak off with her boyfriend and his friends. When Duncan discovers a nearby water park he becomes friends with the employees particularly, Owen, who helps his summer get a lot better.
Acting: Liam James is the one the movie centers around, but yet he doesn't appear to be the top billed in the movie, which is a pity.Anyways, I think James does great as Duncan because he has that awkward way of acting that makes it work for his character, and by the end you hope the best for him. Steve Carell veers a bit away from the nice guy we've become acquainted with that he plays in the movie and this time he plays quite a jerk, but he does well as Trent, and even throws in a bit of the humor we know him for. Sam Rockwell is the guy who befriends Duncan, Owen. I haven't seen Rockwell in much, but he actually is the funniest bit of this movie. Toni Collete is the mother of Duncan, Pam. I think Collete works great, but for some reason I could never like her character. I found her more unlikable than even Trent. She is just dragging this kid into an awful situation to fight her own insecurities and loneliness. Allison Janey is also in the movie as one of the friends, Betty. She is really funny, and makes the movie worth watching alone. AnnaSophie Robb plays the girl that Duncan has a crush on, Susanna. She works and fits the role. Maya Rudolph is also in the movie as Caitlin. She has chemistry that works for Owen, and there little relationship taking place in the movie works good. Lastly, there is Amanda Peet as Joan. I think she is supposed to be unlikable and she is. Not much really going on there.
Filming: The movie does have that indie vibe to it. The coloring, the shots and the music all make it something that is more of the indie movie. I think it does well about not forcing it to the point where it's shoved down your throat. I like the color though, and I like how everything pops. Most of all though the story allows for the characters to shine, which is what I really enjoyed.
Plot: I did get into this movie, and I would lose track of time watching it, which is a great thing that rarely happens with movies. Nat Faxon and Jim Rash direct and wrote this movie, and I think they did a great job about conveying their story. I guess for me outside of Duncan there wasn't too much to relate to, but I think most teens will be able to relate to Duncan, and understand how he feels, and parents may even feel the disconnect that sometimes can happen between kids and themselves.
The Way Way Back isn't something that exactly seemed to be overly memorable, but I did enjoy watching it, and I even went out and recommended it after I finished watching, which doesn't always happen. It's clean enough to be a good parent and teen movie to watch, but also not so family friendly it loses touch with being realistic either.
Rating 8 of 10.