The Way Back (2020)

The Way Back (2020)

The Way Back (2020)

Ben Affleck plays a widowed former basketball all-star struggling with addiction in this sports drama. He attempts a comeback by becoming the coach of a high school team. From the director of Warrior and The Accountant.

Jack Cunningham (Affleck) once had a life filled with promise. In high school, he was a basketball phenom with a full university scholarship, when suddenly, for reasons unknown, he walked away from the game, forfeiting his future. Now years later, Jack is spiraling down, triggered by an unspeakable loss, and drowning in the alcoholism that cost him his marriage and any hope for a better life.

When he is asked to coach the basketball team at his alma mater, which has fallen far since his glory days, he reluctantly accepts, surprising no one more than himself. As the boys start to come together as a team and win, Jack may have finally found a reason to confront the demons that have derailed him. But will it be enough to fill the void, heal the deep wounds of his past, and set him on the road to redemption?

2020Rating: M, Mature themes, coarse language and sexual references108 minsUSA
DramaSport
81%
want to see

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A surprisingly dark, but gripping drama

The career of Ben Affleck has been on a bit of a downward spiral as of late. Nothing particularly bad, but nothing that stands out in a positive fashion. Aggressively mediocre would perhaps be the best way to look at his filmography as of late. The Way Back does not do anything to break this trend. As far as basketball-oriented films go, the matches are...

4.0

A Power Punch of Destruction Beautifully Played

This is an affecting and fascinating film that goes deep into a realistic, raw, and hopeful look at the life of a (partly) functional alcoholic. After several difficult setbacks, Jake Cunningham tries to cope by quietly drinking all day at work and sends himself over the edge to oblivion every night. He ignores his family's concerns about numbing himself...

4.0
FilmInk

FilmInk

press

… just another average sports drama.

Rolling Stone

Rolling Stone

press

Ben Affleck brings his acting A game to this sports/redemption drama that plays way below his level, but still lets us root for the struggling star and the basketball coach he plays to find and honest way back from alcohol addiction.

Vulture

Vulture

press

It's a performance that suggests the most interesting stretch of Affleck's career as an actor is still to come.

Time Out

Time Out

press

Brad Ingelsby's screenplay is the film's guiltiest instrument, shortchanging even the most conventional pleasures of a redemption-themed sports film.

2.0
The New York Times

The New York Times

press

O'Connor finds ways to keep viewers subtly off guard; just when you think "The Way Back" will turn into a Big Game movie, it reverts to being an addiction drama (and then goes back again).

The Guardian

The Guardian

press

The Way Back is a film stuck on the runway, quietly circling around, always threatening to fly but never managing to get off the ground.

2.0
Variety

Variety

press

[A] modestly well-made Sunday-school lesson.

Hollywood Reporter

Hollywood Reporter

press

It's meant as a firm compliment to say that The Way Back looks and feels like a film that could have been made at any time between the early 1970s and right now.

Stuff

Stuff

press

Hampered by a needlessly talky and obvious script, and the far-too naked attempt to be a "good" film, at the expense of also being an entertaining and engaging one, The Way Back is a worthy and well made artefact.

FilmInk

FilmInk

press

… just another average sports drama.

Rolling Stone

Rolling Stone

press

Ben Affleck brings his acting A game to this sports/redemption drama that plays way below his level, but still lets us root for the struggling star and the basketball coach he plays to find and honest way back from alcohol addiction.

Vulture

Vulture

press

It's a performance that suggests the most interesting stretch of Affleck's career as an actor is still to come.

Time Out

Time Out

press

Brad Ingelsby's screenplay is the film's guiltiest instrument, shortchanging even the most conventional pleasures of a redemption-themed sports film.

2.0
The New York Times

The New York Times

press

O'Connor finds ways to keep viewers subtly off guard; just when you think "The Way Back" will turn into a Big Game movie, it reverts to being an addiction drama (and then goes back again).

The Guardian

The Guardian

press

The Way Back is a film stuck on the runway, quietly circling around, always threatening to fly but never managing to get off the ground.

2.0
Variety

Variety

press

[A] modestly well-made Sunday-school lesson.

Hollywood Reporter

Hollywood Reporter

press

It's meant as a firm compliment to say that The Way Back looks and feels like a film that could have been made at any time between the early 1970s and right now.

Stuff

Stuff

press

Hampered by a needlessly talky and obvious script, and the far-too naked attempt to be a "good" film, at the expense of also being an entertaining and engaging one, The Way Back is a worthy and well made artefact.

A surprisingly dark, but gripping drama

The career of Ben Affleck has been on a bit of a downward spiral as of late. Nothing particularly bad, but nothing that stands out in a positive fashion. Aggressively mediocre would perhaps be the best way to look at his filmography as of late. The Way Back does not do anything to break this trend. As far as basketball-oriented films go, the matches are...

4.0

A Power Punch of Destruction Beautifully Played

This is an affecting and fascinating film that goes deep into a realistic, raw, and hopeful look at the life of a (partly) functional alcoholic. After several difficult setbacks, Jake Cunningham tries to cope by quietly drinking all day at work and sends himself over the edge to oblivion every night. He ignores his family's concerns about numbing...

4.0