6.8/10
17,270
199 user 105 critic

The Way Back (2020)

R | | Drama, Sport | 6 March 2020 (USA)
Trailer
2:15 | Trailer
Jack Cunningham was an HS basketball phenom who walked away from the game, forfeiting his future. Years later, when he reluctantly accepts a coaching job at his alma mater, he may get one last shot at redemption.

Director:

Gavin O'Connor

Writer:

Brad Ingelsby
Reviews
Popularity
97 ( 1)

Videos

Photos

Edit

Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
Ben Affleck ... Jack
Al Madrigal ... Dan
Janina Gavankar ... Angela
Michaela Watkins ... Beth
Brandon Wilson ... Brandon Durrett
Will Ropp ... Kenny Dawes
Fernando Luis Vega Fernando Luis Vega ... Sam Garcia
Charles Lott Jr. Charles Lott Jr. ... Chubbs Hendricks
Melvin Gregg ... Marcus Parrish
Ben Irving ... Bobby Freeze
Jeremy Radin ... Father Mark Whelan
John Aylward ... Father Edward Devine
Da'Vinchi ... Devon Childress
Matthew Glave ... Coach Lombardo
Nico David ... Ryan
Learn more

More Like This 

Biography | Crime | Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.5/10 X  

American security guard Richard Jewell saves many lives from an exploding bomb at the 1996 Olympics, but is vilified by journalists and the press who falsely reported that he was a terrorist.

Director: Clint Eastwood
Stars: Paul Walter Hauser, Sam Rockwell, Brandon Stanley
Just Mercy (2019)
Biography | Crime | Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.5/10 X  

World-renowned civil rights defense attorney Bryan Stevenson works to free a wrongly condemned death row prisoner.

Director: Destin Daniel Cretton
Stars: Jamie Foxx, Charlie Pye Jr., Michael Harding
Horror | Mystery | Sci-Fi
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.1/10 X  

When Cecilia's abusive ex takes his own life and leaves her his fortune, she suspects his death was a hoax. As a series of coincidences turn lethal, Cecilia works to prove that she is being hunted by someone nobody can see.

Director: Leigh Whannell
Stars: Elisabeth Moss, Oliver Jackson-Cohen, Harriet Dyer
Bad Education (2019)
Biography | Comedy | Crime
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.1/10 X  

The beloved superintendent of New York's Roslyn school district and his staff, friends and relatives become the prime suspects in the unfolding of the single largest public school embezzlement scandal in American history.

Director: Cory Finley
Stars: Hugh Jackman, Ray Romano, Welker White
The Banker (2020)
Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.2/10 X  

In the 1960s two African-American entrepreneurs hire a working-class white man to pretend to be the head of their business empire while they pose as a janitor and chauffeur.

Director: George Nolfi
Stars: Anthony Mackie, Samuel L. Jackson, Nicholas Hoult
Dark Waters (2019)
Biography | Drama | History
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.6/10 X  

A corporate defense attorney takes on an environmental lawsuit against a chemical company that exposes a lengthy history of pollution.

Director: Todd Haynes
Stars: Mark Ruffalo, Anne Hathaway, Tim Robbins
Action | Adventure | Crime
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.2/10 X  

After splitting with the Joker, Harley Quinn joins superheroes Black Canary, Huntress and Renee Montoya to save a young girl from an evil crime lord.

Director: Cathy Yan
Stars: Margot Robbie, Rosie Perez, Mary Elizabeth Winstead
Bloodshot (2020)
Action | Drama | Sci-Fi
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 5.7/10 X  

Ray Garrison, a slain soldier, is re-animated with superpowers.

Director: Dave Wilson
Stars: Vin Diesel, Eiza González, Sam Heughan
Emma. (2020)
Comedy | Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.8/10 X  

In 1800s England, a well meaning but selfish young woman meddles in the love lives of her friends.

Director: Autumn de Wilde
Stars: Anya Taylor-Joy, Johnny Flynn, Mia Goth
Action | Comedy | Crime
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.2/10 X  

When two Boston police officers are murdered, ex-cop Spenser teams up with his no-nonsense roommate, Hawk, to take down criminals.

Director: Peter Berg
Stars: Mark Wahlberg, Winston Duke, Alan Arkin
Bombshell (2019)
Biography | Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.8/10 X  

A group of women take on Fox News head Roger Ailes and the toxic atmosphere he presided over at the network.

Director: Jay Roach
Stars: Charlize Theron, Nicole Kidman, Margot Robbie
Downhill (2020)
Comedy | Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 4.8/10 X  

Barely escaping an avalanche during a family ski vacation in the Alps, a married couple is thrown into disarray as they are forced to reevaluate their lives and how they feel about each other.

Directors: Nat Faxon, Jim Rash
Stars: Julia Louis-Dreyfus, Will Ferrell, Miranda Otto
Edit

Storyline

Back in high school, Jack Cunningham had everything going for him. A basketball phenom, he could have punched his ticket to college or even the pros, but, instead, he chose to walk away from the game, forfeiting his future. Jack's glory days are long gone...but, as it turns out, not forgotten. Years later, he gets the chance to take back his life when he is asked to coach the struggling basketball team at his alma mater. Jack reluctantly accepts, surprising no one more than himself, and as the boys start to come together as a team and win, he may get his last shot at redemption. Written by Warner Bros

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Taglines:

Every loss is another fight.

Genres:

Drama | Sport

Motion Picture Rating (MPAA)

Rated R for language throughout including some sexual references | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

View content advisory »
Edit

Did You Know?

Trivia

Like Jack, Ben Affleck has also struggled with alcoholism. See more »

Quotes

Jack Cunningham: You want to know why they're leaving you open? It's because they don't think you can hit the ocean from the beach.
See more »


Soundtracks

We're Not Gonna Take It
Written by Dee Snider
See more »

User Reviews

 
Affleck in his element
5 March 2020 | by ferguson-6See all my reviews

Greetings again from the darkness. So much beer and booze. It would be easy to classify this latest from writer-director Gavin O'Connor as a sports movie. After all, he has given us two excellent ones in MIRACLE (2004) and WARRIOR (2011). However, as with those two films, there is much more going on here. This is about grief and addiction, and the difficulties in mending a life in tatters.

Jack Cunningham likes his morning shower. It helps get him prepare for a day of construction work and get over a late night of drinking. What's unusual about his morning routine is that he drinks a beer while taking his morning shower, and then fills his Yeti with gin as he takes his post at the building site. Jack is played by Ben Affleck, who has returned to the screen with a serious acting gig after his fling as Batman. Of course, anyone who even casually keeps up with Hollywood gossip knows Mr. Affleck and his character here have in common a drinking problem. In fact, the actor filmed this immediately after his latest rehab stint. It's quite possible that the collision of real life and fiction explain why this is Affleck's best performance in many years (at least since HOLLYWOODLAND in 2006). He re-teams here O'Connor, who directed him in THE ACCOUNTANT (2016).

Jack is a former high school basketball star whose life has turned out much differently than expected. His construction job is beating him down, alcohol abuse is slowly destroying him, and he recently split with his wife Angela (Janina Gavankar) after a tragedy. Has he hit rock bottom? It's likely he thinks so. As happens so often in life, an opportunity presents itself. The head Priest at his former catholic high school asks him to step in as basketball coach after the current coach has a heart attack. The team is terrible, and has been that way since Jack graduated 25 years ago. After a painful-to-watch evening of decision-making, Jack accepts the job.

As you would expect, it's a team of misfits who have little concept of teamwork. Affleck excels as a coach who evaluates the talent he has and devises a strategy to not only improve individual player performance, but also inject the philosophies of teamwork and cohesion and commitment. He does this with the help of Algebra teacher slash Assistant Coach Dan (Al Madrigal, "I'm Dying Up Here"), who appreciates what Jack brings to the position, but is also protective of the boys and the school mission.

Jack manages to stay sober while coaching, but we see how fine that line is for an addict. Life suddenly rears up and plops an emotional situation that is simply too much form him to handle. It's here when we realize that while it appeared coaching the team gave Jack a glimmer of hope for a better life, it also allowed him to ignore the personal issues and relationships that had driven him to the bottle. The basketball scenes are the most fun to watch, but it's the realistic life elements that elevate the story. It's excruciating to watch Jack re-telling glory days stories to his 'buddies' at the local neighborhood bar, only to be helped home by the same old man who used to carry his father home from the same bar. The perpetuation of misery is a story that is all too relatable for many.

Jack's good qualities are evident when he's prodding ultra-quiet point guard Brandon (Brandon Wilson) into taking on a leadership role and thinking of his future, but that's contrasted with his inconsiderate treatment of his sister Beth (Michaela Watkins) and Father Mark (Jeremy Radin), the team/school Chaplain. It's the two sides of Jack that so clearly resonate with those who have experienced addiction. This is a guy who botched his college/basketball opportunity, but managed to build a new life, only to have it snatched away in the cruelest way possible. It's imperative that he come to grips with all of that in some place other than the bottom of a beer mug.

The outstanding screenplay comes from Brad Ingelsby (OUT OF THE FURNACE, 2013), and with director O'Connor and the cast, the film has a throwback to the 70's feel ... gritty and realistic. This is not the smirking, strutting stud we are accustomed to seeing with Affleck. He seems immersed in the role and brings an understanding to the struggles, the rehab, and the importance of a support system. Redemption played a huge part in the classic HOOSIERS (1986) and most every other rag-tag sports team in movies, and THE WAY BACK shows us there really is no going back ... instead, we must deal with life in order to move on.


28 of 44 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you? | Report this
Review this title | See all 199 user reviews »

Frequently Asked Questions

This FAQ is empty. Add the first question.
Edit

Details

Official Sites:

Official Facebook | Official site | See more »

Country:

USA

Language:

English

Release Date:

6 March 2020 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

The Has-Been See more »

Filming Locations:

Los Angeles, California, USA

Edit

Box Office

Opening Weekend USA:

$8,170,315, 8 March 2020

Gross USA:

$13,590,514

Cumulative Worldwide Gross:

$14,690,514
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Dolby Atmos

Color:

Color

Aspect Ratio:

2.39 : 1
See full technical specs »

Contribute to This Page



Recently Viewed