Generally favorable reviews - based on 41 Critics

Critic score distribution:
  1. Positive: 28 out of 41
  2. Negative: 1 out of 41
  1. Reviewed by: James Berardinelli
    Jul 16, 2013
    It's funny, affecting, and appealing, and more worthy than much of what's out there. Often, coming-of-age stories rely forcefully on formulaic narrative developments but The Way Way Back remains fresh from start to finish.
  2. Reviewed by: Peter Travers
    Jul 8, 2013
    The Way Way Back gets it wittily, thrillingly right. It turns the familiar into something bracingly fresh and funny. It makes you laugh, then breaks your heart.
  3. Reviewed by: Joe Morgenstern
    Jul 4, 2013
    It's a joyous movie, the best one I've seen in a very long time.
  4. Reviewed by: Joe Neumaier
    Jun 29, 2013
    With his rapid-fire delivery and big heart, Rockwell makes Owen his version of “M*A*S*H”’s Hawkeye Pierce, but the film’s layers of well-observed truths go deeper than that.
  5. Reviewed by: Marc Mohan
    Jul 11, 2013
    Co-directors Nat Faxon and Jim Rash, who won an Oscar for writing "The Descendants," are smart enough to mostly stay out the way and let this talented crew bring their script to life.
  6. Reviewed by: Betsy Sharkey
    Jul 4, 2013
    Authenticity gives the movie its witty, heartwarming, hopeful, sentimental, searing and relatable edge. It is merciless in probing the tender spots of times like these, and tough-guy sweet in patching up the wounds.
  7. Reviewed by: Steve Persall
    Jul 17, 2013
    The jokes are often double-edged, the performances always spot-on. The Way, Way Back doesn't re-invent the teenage turning point genre, but Faxon and Rash offer a breezy new spin. You'll see more inventive movies this year but few more endearing.
  8. Reviewed by: Bill Zwecker
    Jul 3, 2013
    Co-writers/directors Faxon and Rast have created a little gem of a film. Without question, The Way Way Back is the best coming-of-age movie of the summer and should be seen by audiences of all ages.
User Score

Generally favorable reviews- based on 159 Ratings

User score distribution:
  1. Positive: 32 out of 35
  2. Negative: 1 out of 35
  1. Aug 30, 2013
    So 'The Way, Way Back' was just released in England, and because I'm a huge fan of 'Little Miss Sunshine' I checked it out. I wasn't disappointed. GREAT FILM! Absolutely hilarious, it found that perfect line between comedy and sad reflection, which 'Little Miss Sunshine' did so well, you can really feel the presence of the producers in this film which if you're in doubt of whether to see this film or not should reassure you.

    Acting wise the entire cast was great, I enjoyed seeing Carrell in a bad guy role, as he doesn't normally do that, essentially he is a "C U Next Tuesday" in this film, which is great, he performs the role perfectly. Sam Rockwell was brilliant. As were the rest of the cast not a single bad performance. A mesmerizing ensemble cast.

    All in all this was a great film, it is a great summer movie, I love that line where you can take a situation as either comedy or sadness, it makes the film more personal to the viewer, which this film is brilliant at. I love the way that when the film makes you sad it is always going to bring you back to being happy with hilarious scenes, dialogue and situation humor.

    INCREDIBLE FILM and a must see.
    Full Review »
  2. Jan 19, 2014
    One of those feel good films that everyone can relate to in some way. You can't help but feel bad for the kid sometimes and feel so overjoyed when something good happens. Basically, this movie connects you emotionally to this character and the character development is marvelous. And Sam Rockwell? I want to be his friend in real life. Brilliant. Full Review »
  3. Dec 4, 2013
    Some movies are just meant to tell a little story and not be some big deal. That's all this was and it succeeded. If you can't relate to someone in this movie, well you live a nice life. OK, I would have given this an 8, but honest to dog, it made me cry a little. That never happens. Even the hokey predictable ending was satisfying. The story didn't spin off into some complex plot, it just moved along character-driven, illustrating the pitfalls of blending families. It's the first time I enjoyed Carell, he was believable for a change. I was so happy the kid met Rockwell, everyone needs an adult who isn't a parent. Full Review »