The Way Way Back (2013) - Rotten Tomatoes

The Way Way Back2013

The Way Way Back (2013)



Critic Consensus: Despite its familiar themes, The Way Way Back makes use of its talented cast, finely tuned script, and an abundance of charm to deliver a funny and satisfying coming-of-age story.

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Movie Info

THE WAY, WAY BACK is the funny and poignant coming of age story of 14-year-old Duncan's (Liam James) summer vacation with his mother, Pam (Toni Collette), her overbearing boyfriend, Trent (Steve Carell), and his daughter, Steph (Zoe Levin). Having a rough time fitting in, the introverted Duncan finds an unexpected friend in gregarious Owen (Sam Rockwell), manager of the Water Wizz water park. Through his funny, clandestine friendship with Owen, Duncan slowly opens up to and begins to finally find his place in the world - all during a summer he will never forget. (c) Fox Searchlight

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Critic Reviews for The Way Way Back

All Critics (179) | Top Critics (45)

The film has been complacently concocted for likability even as it gives you very little that's real, structured, or spontaneous enough to enjoy.

January 6, 2014 | Full Review…

Nice comedic work from Sam Rockwell and Allison Janney buoys this pleasant but routine coming-of-age drama by Nat Faxon and Jim Rash.

September 10, 2013 | Full Review…

This film's masterstroke is showing everything from Duncan's point of view, without the traditional cloying narration.

August 27, 2013 | Rating: 4/5 | Full Review…
Top Critic

Like many of the best films in this genre The Way, Way Back is rooted in truth: honest observations about family dynamics, adolescence, dependence and independence.

July 26, 2013 | Full Review…

An unexpected yet irresistible cross between Meatballs and The Ice Storm, The Way Way Back just may be the best movie of the summer.

July 26, 2013 | Full Review…

The coming-of-age tale The Way, Way Back is sweet, heartfelt and utterly trite and predictable from beginning to end.

July 19, 2013 | Rating: 2/4

Audience Reviews for The Way Way Back


I like coming-of-age movies, and this is one of the better ones. Duncan comes out of his shell and stands up for himself after a summer at the beach. The chief architect of this change is Owen - a strange duck himself.

Red Lats
Red Lats

Super Reviewer

Not without its moments, but uneven overall--too many characters to background in the early going. As a result, the movie kind of wanders for the first 20-30 minutes, and winds up leaning too heavily on the montage while telling Duncan's story, glazing over the sense of purpose that his new job gives him and his budding romance with the girl next door. Strong final act, though, and great work by Steve Carell and Sam Rockwell playing against type, but there was just too much story here, probably two and a half hours worth... I wouldn't have sat through this kind of movie were it that long, but instead of glazing over the main plot to make it shorter, they could have cut a plot line or two and really brought us further inside Duncan.

Daniel Perry
Daniel Perry

Super Reviewer

Didn't expect a movie where Steve Carell plays the asshole

Matt Goodman
Matt Goodman

Super Reviewer

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