The Way Back – Movie Reviews by Ry!

The Way Back – Shots Against Struggle … Redemption at the Buzzer

Feel-Good stories are journeys filled with paths of hope. that pushes through for an inevitable good ending.  For all the genuine emotions, this genre is littered with predictable stories.  Occasionally, there is one that rises above to bring a unique spin to the genre.  The Way Back takes you on an unorthodox journey, redefining purpose.  With a strong lead and an endearing story, The Way Back is a feel-good story that defines truth of finding, who you are in tough times.                

The story centers on Jack Cunningham (Ben Affleck), a former basketball phenom asked to coach at his alma mater.  Down on his luck, this might be his last chance at finding purpose in his life again.  With the feel-good genre, it always centers around the fall from grace theme.  This leads the audience through a linear outline that has our ‘fallen’ character(s) reach a redemption like ending.  Even if there is a realistic connection, the recycled archetypes, tropes and plot points create a false sense of endearment.  Jack Cunningham’s story starts within the familiar, but slowly moves you on honest path of human fragility.  The prologue thrust you into the hardship of the past, but it is not force fed through unwanted exposition.  As you move through the first half, his story is introduced through subtleties of interaction with those close to him (family, ex-wife and close friends).  From physical mannerism to genuine conversations, you have an understanding about the broken persona clustered within raw emotions.  The fragility is placed within circumstances that lead to the decision to coach at his alma mater.

Once Jack becomes the coach, the molding of characterization and feel-good themes move the journey above the predictable outline.  As be becomes endeared to pull the team above the ranks, it creates a reflection upon his own decisions in life.  As things begin to move in the right direction, he must face tough choices and find a way to become anew.  The ideal situation is pushed beyond the outline, as the obvious becomes a red herring to the actualization of events.  This leads to a third act that moves realism to the forefront, creating a climax that truly brings believability to the idea of redemption.  The Way Back is a feel-good story that creates a sense of genuine appeal, taking the predictable and creating an honest reflection of hope.  If you’re a fan of Affleck, feel-good stories or a genuine tale of redemption, this is one for you.  Definitely worth seeing, would be worth the full price at the theaters.      

Full Score – 4 out of 5 (Full Price)

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