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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Liam James
as Duncan
Zoe Levin
as Steph
Maya Rudolph
as Caitlyn
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Critic Reviews for The Way Way Back

All Critics (186) | Top Critics (61)

Sundance would not be Sundance without a few unbelievably stupid, clichéd, graceless movies in the mix.

August 28, 2019 | Full Review…

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…

If you're first act was writing the Oscar winning screenplay for "The Descendants," looking for an encore can be tough. But Nat Faxon and Jim Rash leveraged that win and made the leap to directing their own small-budget, bighearted coming of age comedy.

November 1, 2013 | 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…

Never mind the text; feel the texture.

August 29, 2013 | Rating: 4/5 | Full Review…

For all the longueurs, there are still enough moments of near brilliance to sustain you through the trip.

August 29, 2013 | Rating: 4/5 | Full Review…

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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