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One film that made an impact on critics this year – especially at the Sundance Film Festival – was The Way Way Back. Starring Toni Collette (of new CBS drama Hostages, playing Pam) and Steve Carrell (Trent) as a mother and her boyfriend who take her two children away for the summer. What follows is a modern coming-of-age story about Duncan (Liam James) who is struggling in life as young teenager; with a father figure he hates, bitchy sister and total sap of a mother. He finds his place working at the local waterpark and bonds with the manager Owen.

It’s not one of those films that has heaps going on, but the simplicity of it all is probably why it was such a hit. Trent is an arsehole we’ve all encountered at some point in our lives, so we identify easily with Duncan. AnnaSophia Robb plays Susanna as the cute girl next door – she reminds me of a young Amanda Seyfried/Hayden Panettiere – and I predict big things for her in the future. Duncan and Owen’s friendship is what really sells the film and there’s feel-good/touching moments throughout.

A stellar cast, with cameos from Amanda Peet as a bohemian slut and Alison Janney as the trashy lush, along with clever dialogue help sail this simple concept into something universally touching – a story about growing up, finding who you are, standing up for yourself and making friends.

HONOURABLE MENTION:
– Sam Rockwell’s nipples at the end

Rating: 4/5

The Way Way Back Trailer:

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