Released: 28th August 2013
Running Time: 1 hour 55 minutes
Directed and Written by Nat Faxon and Jim Rash
Cast: Steve Carell, Toni Collette, Sam Rockwell, Liam James, Allison Janney, Anna-Sophia Robb, Maya Rudolph, Rob Corddry, Amanda Peet, River Alexander, Zoe Levin, Nat Faxon and Jim Rash
Trent (Carell), Pam (Collette), Steph (Levin) and Duncan (James) are travelling to a seaside resort for their summer holidays. Trent is Steph’s father and has recently started dating Pam, Duncan’s mum. The conversation in the car doesn’t go well and it is clear that Duncan and Trent do not get along.
When they arrive at the holiday town, they move into the hut. Steph is going down to the beach to see her friends (as it is the same place that they have been to every summer since she was young). Trent and Pam make Duncan go with her. Whilst at the beach, Duncan goes off on his own, fed up with Steph and her snobby mates.
He goes to an amusement arcade and meets Owen (Rockwell). They hit off straight away over a game of Pac-Man.
Duncan goes to meet Owen at a water park, Owen offers him a summer job. Duncan finds himself fitting in with the staff brilliantly and finally feels like he belongs. His colleagues Caitlin (Rudolph), Roddy (Faxon) and Lewis (Rash), all welcome him and treat him like one of the gang.
Meanwhile, at home, he catches Trent in a passionate embrace with Joan (Peet). Joan is married to Trent’s friend, Kip (Corddry). Everything starts to go downhill from here on, in Duncan’s home-life. His mum and Trent start to become distant, arguing over little things.
Whilst Duncan is struggling with his home-life and enjoying his summer job, he gets friendly with his next door neighbour’s daughter, Susanna (Robb).
I loved this film.
I am a member of a ‘Film Club’ on Facebook where we discuss films and TV programs with other people who share the same passion. (If you fancy joining or having a look at film club, you can find us on Facebook here). We were having a discussion about Sam Rockwell, and I happened to mention that I wasn’t keen on him, or any of the characters he had played.
One member suggested I watch this film, in the hope it would change my opinion. I went in to it with a lot of negativity. To the point that I wasn’t actually going to watch it (as my other half was), but after about 10 minutes, I couldn’t stop watching. It has changed my perception of Sam Rockwell to a certain degree (I wouldn’t turn around and say I like ‘Moon’ or anything, but I didn’t hate him in this film).
Sam Rockwell’s character Owen, is a joker, a lad-about-town and seemingly someone who can’t take anything seriously. Yet the on-screen relationship between him and Duncan is amazing. Owen really takes the boy under his wing, even helping him learn how to deal with his mum’s boyfriend.
I feel a special mention should be made about Allison Janney as Betty, the drunk next door neighbour. She only had a few minor parts in the film, at neighbourhood barbecues etc but she was outstanding. I know that a drunk is a pretty common role in films, but she pulled it off so convincingly. Allison wasn’t over the top, as she wasn’t an alcohol, just always drunk – as a lot of people are on holiday.
I looked into this film online and found out that the title comes from an old saying “The Way Back” meaning to sit in the very back seat of a truck, facing the rear – which, was where Duncan was sat at the beginning of the film when he was made to feel inadequate by Trent.
I took one quote from the film, that I thought summed the entire movie up in one sentence. It was a quote by Rockwell’s character, Owen.
I don’t think a film has ever reached out to me so much as this one did.
I would definitely buy this film for my collection
“You've got to go your own way, and you, my friend, are going your own way”