User Score
7.9

Generally favorable reviews- based on 162 Ratings

User score distribution:
  1. Negative: 5 out of 162

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  1. Aug 30, 2013
    10
    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 seeSo '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.
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  2. Dec 4, 2013
    9
    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 justSome 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. Expand
  3. Aug 3, 2013
    10
    This movie was absolutely brilliant. It touches on your heart strings. The characters all had strong personalities except for the protagonist, which made him stand out the most. I could really feel the pain of the protagonist and the ending was fantastic. This movie is a must see.
  4. Jul 7, 2013
    9
    The Way Way Back could have been as good as Little Miss Sunshine but manages to make you weep with great acting from Sam Rockwell, excellent screenplay which is included with masterful direction. Must watch this season- hardly, doesn't deserve to be missed.
  5. Jan 19, 2014
    8
    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.
  6. Jul 23, 2013
    10
    Great movie! It manages to touch your emotions and make you wanna cry. The plot is interesting and makes you feel sorry for the main characters. I highly recomend people to watch this as I was emotionally touched by this movie.
  7. Jul 22, 2013
    6
    A super sulky pubescent (Liam James) is stuck with his mom and her bf (Toni Collette & Steve Carell in a non-comic role) at a summer beach house. He finds fun and friendship at a local water park. The plot's familiar, so it's up to the storytelling and characters to make it special. Sam Rockwell and Allison Janney create enjoyable people, but the rest of the people aren't especiallyA super sulky pubescent (Liam James) is stuck with his mom and her bf (Toni Collette & Steve Carell in a non-comic role) at a summer beach house. He finds fun and friendship at a local water park. The plot's familiar, so it's up to the storytelling and characters to make it special. Sam Rockwell and Allison Janney create enjoyable people, but the rest of the people aren't especially interesting. It's predictable and things take too long to happen. Except for Sam Rockwell (as the mentor), things aren't that funny or heartfelt when they do. Expand
  8. Nov 27, 2013
    0
    There are good movies, bad movies, and movies so south of bad that I had to walk out early on. It's so much worse than terrible that it was painful to sit through the "humor." I don't know whether to be more surprised that only two users rated it negative or that so many people liked it. I am certainly surprised that Andrew O'Heir gave it 80. Basically you have parents who treat theirThere are good movies, bad movies, and movies so south of bad that I had to walk out early on. It's so much worse than terrible that it was painful to sit through the "humor." I don't know whether to be more surprised that only two users rated it negative or that so many people liked it. I am certainly surprised that Andrew O'Heir gave it 80. Basically you have parents who treat their children terribly, which isn't funny, and running gags like unsuccessful lazy eye surgery that really isn't funny. Add to that the fact that Janney either has no flair for comedy or her director has no talent for comedy, or both. Expand
  9. Dec 4, 2013
    10
    Perhaps the most beautiful film I've seen in a year. It will make you laugh, it will make you cry. It has the whole package. A great script, and not a single bad performance. Steve Carell plays the bad guy very well. Which is surprising, i didn't know he could pull it off. Sam Rockwell....well, rocks. Totally brilliant. And the rest of the cast are top-notch.

    I'm very glad that i
    Perhaps the most beautiful film I've seen in a year. It will make you laugh, it will make you cry. It has the whole package. A great script, and not a single bad performance. Steve Carell plays the bad guy very well. Which is surprising, i didn't know he could pull it off. Sam Rockwell....well, rocks. Totally brilliant. And the rest of the cast are top-notch.

    I'm very glad that i checked out this movie. Coming-of-age stories are one of my favorite types of stories. And this movie should be watched by any fan of that kind.
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  10. Jul 27, 2014
    9
    What most impressed me, was Steve Carrel with the role of the bad guy... With most of time facing the reality, it makes the movie be such a great experience to have. Its really amazing and worth to watch.
  11. Sep 7, 2013
    8
    While critics are always on the lookout for the next Citizen Kane and score poorly when a film fails to come up to scratch those who aren't paid to go to the movies are on the lookout for good entertainment for 90 minutes. This delivers.

    Warm, touching, funny, well-played What's not to like in this movie? Liam James is good as the teenager at the centre of the story and Rockwell,
    While critics are always on the lookout for the next Citizen Kane and score poorly when a film fails to come up to scratch those who aren't paid to go to the movies are on the lookout for good entertainment for 90 minutes. This delivers.

    Warm, touching, funny, well-played What's not to like in this movie? Liam James is good as the teenager at the centre of the story and Rockwell, Carell and Collette give great support.
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  12. Jul 24, 2013
    9
    Loved every second of it. Moving film that's both warm and funny and intelligently-written. If you love coming-of-age dramas, this falls in line with this year's "Kings of Summer" as one of the best of the year.
  13. Jan 25, 2014
    7
    Director debut from Oscar-winning writer-duo Nat Faxon and Jim Rash (THE DESCENDANTS 2011, 8/10), a diffident but sensitive 14-year-old boy Duncan (James) unwillingly spends the summer vacation with his mother Pam (Collette) and her new boyfriend Trent (Carell) in a beach house where he cannot fit in and is constantly under strains with the domineering Trent, coincidentally he forms a bondDirector debut from Oscar-winning writer-duo Nat Faxon and Jim Rash (THE DESCENDANTS 2011, 8/10), a diffident but sensitive 14-year-old boy Duncan (James) unwillingly spends the summer vacation with his mother Pam (Collette) and her new boyfriend Trent (Carell) in a beach house where he cannot fit in and is constantly under strains with the domineering Trent, coincidentally he forms a bond with Owen (Rockwell), a happy-go-lucky clerk in the local water land “Water Whizz”, after clandestinely takes a part-time job there, Duncan experiences the time of his life and the dreary summer does’t seem to be so unbearable.

    Opens with Steve Carell drives a revamped station wagon, Collette is asleep in the passenger’s seat, James sits in the way back seat facing backward, plus we foreknow a blue-chip ensemble with Rockwell, Janney, Peet, Rudolph and Robb, is it another deletable family confection like LITTLE MISS SUNSHINE (2006, 9/10)? The very first conversation between Trent and Duncan shatters this speculation, Duncan has a rough road in this summer retreat, soon it turns out his presumable step-father is not only a pathological doctrinaire, but a two-timing sleaze-bag. The discordance also arises between Duncan and Pam, a typical miscommunication between a mother and her teenage son, Pam is an escapist seeks for protection under the roof of a marriage and is willingly to blindly ignore any snags on her way, but Duncan is a disgruntled son never understand why she cannot find someone better.
    The novice Liam James utterly suits the wallflower sort, his self-emancipation route pans out nicely and he balances a fine line between sympathy and ebullience.

    Supporting players galore, Duncan gets closer with Susanna (Robb), the next-door girl whose mother Betty (Janney) is a vexing garrulous boozehound, the amiable attachment between Duncan and Susanna is handled with care, realistic and never go overboard. Amanda Peet is perpetually underused as the third wheel old flame and a well-tanned Steve Carell assumes the villain role with dead seriousness with Zoe Levin as his haughty daughter, a bad exemplar of the ugly facet of our young generation. Collette accomplishes the duck soup with tangible nuances as a mother stuck in a morass.

    But the most enthralling and funny part of the film is certainly located in Water Whizz, Rockwell is at the top his game with almost ad lib ambidexterity of spontaneity and sincerity, it is not so often to watch him engage in an otherwise mono-layer character, he is so ready for more awards recognition. Rash and Naxon also participate in the film and generate laughters as two buffoonish co-workers.

    The film comes to the end as nothing ever happened, the hurtful truth, the unpleasant kerfuffle, Duncan has found his happy place but has to move on, however the positive message spreads from the very last scene renders viewers a firm conviction, life sucks, nevertheless, we can progress, even with baby steps.
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  14. Sep 2, 2014
    8
    I care very little about the similarities between the Way, Way Back and ever other coming-of-age story. I care only about the uniqueness of its presentation and that is where this film is able to stand out.
  15. Nov 9, 2013
    10
    The Way, Way Back is one of the best films of the year. The strength of the film is making you feel for the main character for what he is going through. It mixes comedy and emotion perfectly and gives an ending that simply is remarkable.
  16. Dec 9, 2013
    9
    Movies like this are hardly ever enlightening, but that doesn't make a difference because it is a great movie. It is a difficult to balance both comedy and drama successfully, but the film makers delivered well. Wonderful vivid supporting characters.
  17. Jun 9, 2014
    8
    I can’t believe this movie isn’t popular with the teens.

    I loved how this movie, while is a teenage movie, also appeal to the adults without being chessy. In fact, this isn’t a romantic movie at all. This is a movie about enjoying things you never thought you would enjoy. I relate to the main character Duncan. I don’t blame him for being such a smug because the people around him
    I can’t believe this movie isn’t popular with the teens.

    I loved how this movie, while is a teenage movie, also appeal to the adults without being chessy.

    In fact, this isn’t a romantic movie at all. This is a movie about enjoying things you never thought you would enjoy.

    I relate to the main character Duncan. I don’t blame him for being such a smug because the people around him are a bunch of scum anyway.

    I didn’t expect A-list cast in this movie. It’s great seeing them collaborating in this movie because they did such a wonderful job portraying their roles. The direction was great too.

    The themes in the movie did a good job without romanticizing it. I guess that’s why it’s not popular with the teens because we teenagers are hopeless romantics.

    Lastly, the script was brilliant. You need a good script to make a good movie. And I am so relived to know the same scriptwriters directed the movie.

    Overall, while it’s something I would not watch again for a long time, I would recommend everyone to watch this movie if they want to be happy for just two hours.
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  18. Jul 13, 2013
    5
    Sweet movie but fairly simple plot. Seems like it takes place in a few days. As a coming-of-age-working-at -an-amusement-park flick, Adventureland was better.
  19. Nov 11, 2013
    7
    Sam Rockwell absolutely shines in this hard-trying-to-be-indie movie. Much of the cast, including the gormless, charmless, expressionless 14 year old lead, struggles hard to be likeable. Steve Carrel, for the first time is the dick. And he isn't convincing. Just kind of ruins him for me. But Rockwell and his quirky, larger-than-life character does stand out from the cardboard charactersSam Rockwell absolutely shines in this hard-trying-to-be-indie movie. Much of the cast, including the gormless, charmless, expressionless 14 year old lead, struggles hard to be likeable. Steve Carrel, for the first time is the dick. And he isn't convincing. Just kind of ruins him for me. But Rockwell and his quirky, larger-than-life character does stand out from the cardboard characters and rescues an otherwise dull movie. His friendship and the way he fathers shy insecure Duncan is the genuinely heartwarming core to this movie. And it outshines the other storylines. Expand
  20. Aug 30, 2013
    10
    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 seeSo '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.
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  21. Jun 20, 2014
    10
    I give it a 10, cause it was a real good summer movie. You can really feel for the characters situations.It`s funny, awkward, and has feel good moments.
  22. Jul 29, 2013
    10
    I love The Way, Way Back. It's the first 10/10 I'm awarding all year and for a good reason. All around the board spectacular performances, Sam Rockwell particularly shines. I loved it.
  23. Apr 14, 2014
    6
    Very nice little film. Good script with a heart and great character development. The whole cast does a great job but Allison Janney and Toni Collette are especially good in this. Both are actresses with a lot of experience and it shows. They are great. The main character (the teen boy) does a great job too. It is a movie with a little bit of comedy but also some really touching moments,Very nice little film. Good script with a heart and great character development. The whole cast does a great job but Allison Janney and Toni Collette are especially good in this. Both are actresses with a lot of experience and it shows. They are great. The main character (the teen boy) does a great job too. It is a movie with a little bit of comedy but also some really touching moments, especially towards the end and the mother´s situation. I recommend it without a doubt. Expand
  24. Aug 30, 2013
    10
    My new favorite film of the year. This film's got everything strong writing, strong directing, and strong acting. The best part of this film by far is Sam Rockwell he is pin point perfect, just down right hilarious. Similar to one of my favorite films of 2012 The Perks of Being a Wallflower, The Way Way Back is even better. A+
  25. Sep 27, 2013
    8
    This review contains spoilers, click expand to view. As a teenage boy myself, this film hit all the right notes for me. The cast was brilliant, and did an incredible job. Sam Rockwell especially shined as the kind of cool adult us teens look up to, who isn't as level headed as he seems. Steve Carrell was a convincing scum bag, and the scene near the end where Carrell and Rockwell meet almost broke my heart with the beautiful way Rockwell defended poor Duncan. The story was hilarious, but never unrealistic. It had its comedy gold moments, and it's bluntly truthful moments. Overall, this film had one of the strongest scripts of the summer, and it's certainly one of my favorite films of the year. Expand
  26. Jul 27, 2013
    9
    Sweet, satisfying...and my favorite film so far this year. Liam James stars as 14-year old Duncan, who's dragged by his mother (Toni Collette) and new beau (Steve Carell) to the beach to spend the summer. Allison Janney is hysterical as the next door neighbor and Sam Rockwell is the mentor I wish I had growing up This coming-of-age film was smart, funny and really hit home for meSweet, satisfying...and my favorite film so far this year. Liam James stars as 14-year old Duncan, who's dragged by his mother (Toni Collette) and new beau (Steve Carell) to the beach to spend the summer. Allison Janney is hysterical as the next door neighbor and Sam Rockwell is the mentor I wish I had growing up This coming-of-age film was smart, funny and really hit home for me personally. The last 20 minutes were a misty blur. I will definitely see this film again. Expand
  27. Jul 21, 2013
    5
    This review contains spoilers, click expand to view. Underwhelming. Allison Janney is great, as is Sam Rockwell, but I felt The Way, Way Back lacked a satisfying ending. Perhaps the filmmakers wanted to avoid a crowd-pleasing finale, but the movie is already chock-full of cliché moments. And at times it felt I was watching two different movies one exploring the trials of divorce, and the pain of infidelity, and then another filled with teenage angst and a stereotypical coming-of-age-summer. Expand
  28. Nov 7, 2013
    9
    I really enjoyed this coming-of-age story. While the story of an awkward teenager coming out of his shell thanks to the wisdom of a glorified goofball/slacker is nothing really new, writers/directors Nat Faxon and Jim Rash made the film feel fresh and unique. The funny parts are really funny and the drama is blended perfectly to give the film a very human approach. Add in greatI really enjoyed this coming-of-age story. While the story of an awkward teenager coming out of his shell thanks to the wisdom of a glorified goofball/slacker is nothing really new, writers/directors Nat Faxon and Jim Rash made the film feel fresh and unique. The funny parts are really funny and the drama is blended perfectly to give the film a very human approach. Add in great performances from Liam James, Steve Carell, Toni Collette and, most importantly, Sam Rockwell and you have the makings of a very endearing, very amusing movie. Expand
  29. Aug 20, 2013
    6
    Disappointing. Sam Rockwell and Janney characters were over the top. Didn't care about any of the characters.------------------------------------------------------
  30. Nov 22, 2014
    8
    This movie is pretty damn good, though it certainly is not for everyone, it's a fun coming of age story.
    Duncan is a good protagonist as a kid who you really feel bad for in the beginning. Though that's all great there are a FEW downsides, and the first of which was some of the characters. Now, don't get me wrong, most of the characters in this movie are fairly likable (or hateable), but
    This movie is pretty damn good, though it certainly is not for everyone, it's a fun coming of age story.
    Duncan is a good protagonist as a kid who you really feel bad for in the beginning. Though that's all great there are a FEW downsides, and the first of which was some of the characters. Now, don't get me wrong, most of the characters in this movie are fairly likable (or hateable), but there were some that were not very interesting. The second of which was the humor, while most of the jokes made for a good laugh, some were... not very funny.

    Overall 8 out of 10, even with these flaws, this movies is NOT bad!
    Also, the title of this movie comes from the name of the seat the main character sits in, in the very beginning.
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  31. Apr 24, 2014
    9
    The Way Way Back is a wonderfully crafted coming of age story with two great teen actors and a showboat-y performance from Rockwell. While he is in all his waterpark gear and flirting with the e employees, we almost forget that he played a crazy prisoner in "The Green Mile". Toni Collette and Steve Carrell make up a talented supporting cast. The direction, editing, cinematography, andThe Way Way Back is a wonderfully crafted coming of age story with two great teen actors and a showboat-y performance from Rockwell. While he is in all his waterpark gear and flirting with the e employees, we almost forget that he played a crazy prisoner in "The Green Mile". Toni Collette and Steve Carrell make up a talented supporting cast. The direction, editing, cinematography, and script are all on par to make for a very enjoyable film. Expand
  32. Nov 8, 2013
    9
    This review contains spoilers, click expand to view. "The Way Way Back" is a stunning film that focuses on telling the plot through subtle comments and camera angles.

    A 14-year old boy named Duncan ,who has social issues after his father leaves his mother and him, goes on a family trip with his mom's new boyfriend (played by Steve Carell, who does such a good job you actually hate him) to his beach house.

    Along the way, Duncan makes new friends, gets a job at a water park, along with discovering some scandals going on in the background.

    This movie is a must-watch and the best drama movie of the year. Although it may seem sulky and boring at times if you don't get the "subtle plot expansion" at first, but watching once or twice will make it worth it.
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  33. Dec 28, 2013
    10
    Every performance in the film is perfect, particularly Sam Rockwell's hilarious turn as the water park manager. Rockwell is reason enough to see the film, and shouldn't be forgotten come awards time.
  34. Feb 17, 2014
    7
    Nice movie,performance is very good.Nice and enjoyable movie,perfect line between comedy and a sad reflection but still not a movie too good for some awards,at the point of comedy the jokes are very clever.Its definitly worth watching.
  35. Feb 15, 2014
    9
    very nice movie.. really refreshing.. the whole cast did their roles very well. and really touching and beautiful climax. really we do things to protect ourselves because we are scared.
  36. Sep 7, 2014
    9
    One of the best movies i have ever seen. it was a movie which had a mixture of comedy, romance and adventure which really brought out the best of the movie. It really touches your heart and shows you how a shy boy like "Duncan" becomes someone who is confident about himself through the help of his friends.

    A MUST-WATCH MOVIE!!
Metascore
68

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: Anna Smith
    Aug 27, 2013
    80
    This also marks what may be Allison Janney’s funniest performance to date: her cheerful, outspoken drunk next door is an absolute hoot.
  2. Reviewed by: Olly Richards
    Aug 26, 2013
    80
    A film for every age, whether you’re an awkward kid, former awkward kid or awkward kid-adjacent. Funny, real and uplifting. A film that reaffirms your belief in the human spirit.
  3. Reviewed by: James Mottram
    Aug 24, 2013
    80
    If the Collette/Carell reunion suggests Little Miss Sunshine, it’s not quite that crowd-pleasing. But, crafted with much TLC and sympathy, it’s perfectly tailored to the tongue-tied teen in us all.