By Mofida Abdelmageed
“The Way Way Back,” a dramatic comedy directed by Nat Faxon and Jim Rash, tackles ongoing conflicts between teens and adults. The protagonist of the film, Duncan (Liam James), is a 14-year-old with low self-confidence. Duncan wants to connect with his mom, Pam (Toni Collette), but Pam’s boyfriend, Trent (Steve Carell), dislikes Duncan. Trent and his daughter Steph (Zoe Levin) create a negative atmosphere for Duncan. Duncan learns to isolate himself from the rest of the world.
The new “family” goes on a summer vacation to try to become closer. Trent degrades Duncan, rating his personality: “I think you’re a three.” Duncan lacks a supportive male figure in his life.
While on vacation, Duncan meets Owen (Sam Rockwell), the owner of a theme park called “Water Wizz.” Both characters learn lessons from each other: Owen gains maturity and responsibility through his relationship with Duncan, and Duncan becomes more fun and less depressed. He gains confidence, becoming known in the theme park as “Pop ‘n’ Lock.” He says, at one point, “This is the only place I am happy.”
The film expresses real situations that families experience. It has a beautifully-written script, and the acting is incredible. The profanity makes it realistic. The protagonist plays an important role, showing the stresses of being a teen. The film should be watched by teens and adults together, and it teaches a lesson about connecting and bonding with people who make a difference in their life. The movie is intense and astounding. It allows the audience to connect with the characters.