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Plot:

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.

Also Known As: O Caminho de Volta, Вне игры, Велики повратак, Finding the Way Back, Out of Play: Der Weg zurück, Torrance, The Has-Been, Ο Δρόμος της Επιστροφής, The Way Back, The Way Back New, Извън играта, Tornare a vincere

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25 Comments

  • iztok-rozman
    iztok rozman

    First Hit: This is a very well done film about redemption.There are lots of films made about someone redeeming themselves after having a difficult time. Not all of them do it well; this one does.Here we have a well-crafted storyline that evolves as the character evolves. By slowly revealing the depth of Jack Cunningham’s (Ben Affleck) angst, the audience is interested and wants to know more with each passing frame.In an early opening scene, we find him in a liquor store buying a box full of beer and hard liquor. It is a holiday, and he’s heading over to his sister’s home. The stop at the store is telling because the store proprietor seems to know him, and the amount he’s purchased is unquestioned.Cunningham is an alcoholic. He works in construction. After work, he stops by a dive bar where he is well known and makes idle bar talk and jokes with other patrons. On those nights, he’s help home by a fellow customer.While showering the next morning, he’s got a can of beer in the soap holder, and while the water washes over him, he pounds down another beer before he’s even out of the shower. We see this scene multiple times; it is his habit. We also see him on the job with his ever-present metal coffee mug, which isn’t filled with coffee, but vodka. He drinks on the job.Jack doesn’t care about much except Angela (Janina Gavankar), his ex-wife, which we discover because he calls and leaves a message on her phone. He also shows enthusiasm when he visits his sister Beth (Michaela Watkins) because he enjoys and appears to love, and care about, her two children.Outside of these two things, he lives a day to day existence of going to work, going to the bar, and being led home to fall asleep in his clothes. He begins each day with a shower and a beer.He gets offered a part-time job coaching the local high school team because he was their best player some twenty years prior. Back then, he was so good he was offered a full scholarship to Kansas University but didn’t take it. We learn why, in an intimate conversation with one of his basketball players.Watching Jack decide to try this coaching job was another great scene. He downs at least two six-packs of beer while holding his phone next to his ear, practicing his speeches as to why he can’t take the coaching job. Outstanding scene.It’s little scenes like this that make this film work well. Another such scene is Jack’s lunch with Angelea and their subsequent joint attendance to a friend’s son’s birthday party. Powerful scenes that open the door to the story a little bit farther.The basketball scenes are some of the best I’ve seen shot for a film because they were very realistic to high school basketball. The movie gets it right with the noise of the gym, the anxious players, and the boys’ willingness to buy into someone that knows basketball. Jack knows how to motivate them, as he motivates himself into caring about something more than his loss.Affleck is amazing. His performance, by far, is the best acting by a man this year. Because of his very own public battle with alcohol, he makes this character real. He shows us that we know that he knows what it is like to carry the demons of addiction around. Gavankar is terrific as his former wife, who wants to move on with her life. She shows equanimity in both loving her former husband and reviling his behavior as an alcoholic. Watkins is superb as Cunningham’s sister. Her wistful ways of sharing her wish for her brother to seek help, are spot-on. The boys on the basketball team were outstanding. Brad Ingelsby wrote a dynamic screenplay that takes us on a road of discovery. Gavin O’Connor showed great and deft skills by giving the audience the right amount of information in each new scene to let the audience engage in this story as it unfolds.Overall: This film shows how a film can be crafted by someone who cares about the story they want to tell.

  • hugo-porta-alberola
    hugo porta alberola

    Going into this movie, I expected to leave heavy and depressed at yet (another) addiction movie that would end in heartbreak.I was pleasantly surprised to find the mini triumphs and upbeat moments mixed into the real struggles that come with addiction.As someone who has watched a loved one struggle with addiction and begin the small steps of making a change that led to REAL life change, I was so thankful to see a positive ending to this movie!I really expected a suicide at the end, but was so grateful to see a movie that could relate to addicts struggle while also pointing to the baby steps that lead to “the way back”.Thank you for choosing an ending that shows HOPE and LIFE.

  • misty-powell
    misty powell

    Loved the film. Lots of heart in this film. Shows a lot how Basketball can change lives.

  • cirulis-brencis
    cirulis brencis

    The Way Back is a great film and one of Afflecks best performances to date. The director Gavin O’ Conner can really bring the great out in Ben. I’m a huge fan of The Accountant. Afflecks nails the struggling alcoholic roll to a t. Rob Simonsen’s score is so moving. All the actors were greatI clapped out loud in the theatre. I really enjoyed this movie. 7/10 2 👍🏻👍🏻

  • megan-blair
    megan blair

    It has no identity. You don’t even find out about his son til 45 minutes in. The sports parts of the movie are completely unnecessary. This could have been about an alcoholic former high school athlete. That lived his best life like Al Bundy I’m high school. Failed at life after. Was an addict. Saved by woman. Loses his son and becomes an addict again. Hurts everyone around him. Tries to get sober. Fails. Family comes together and then he does it. Should have just gave him the Coaching job at the end. Painful to watch. I expected like a Hoosiers. False advertising using the basketball thing. It’s not even a subplot. Lame.

  • univ-prof-ruben-pedersen
    univ prof ruben pedersen

    I feel like Ben Afleck deserves an Oscar, at least!

  • debbie-chandler
    debbie chandler

    I love this movie, absolutely love it!! Ben Affleck at his best; with a beautiful, personal and powerful performance. Totally moving and inspiring.

  • simi-cristea
    simi cristea

    Directed by Gavin O’Connor, The Way Back stars Ben Affleck as an alcoholic former athlete who is given the job to coach a basketball team; how original. My mom forced me into seeing it with her (technically speaking), so I went in completely blind. After having done so, all I can really say is that I have no idea what critics and audiences saw in this one. To be perfectly honest, this is not a good film in the slightest.First off, saying that the acting is below average would be an understatement. I can’t say very much about the supporting cast as not one performance from either of them was worthy enough to remember. The one person I can talk about is the main star himself, Ben Affleck, as he (aside from that one old black guy, whom I recognized from Cooley High) was the only recognizable actor in the entire thing. I will admit that the man definitely stood out in this, but not in a good way. I’ve read a lot of reviews praising Affleck in this film, but I honestly cannot see how that’s possible. From how I saw it, he acted as if he was half asleep for most of the time. But then once in a while, he starts shouting and screaming.With that said, I did not give a damn on what this character went through or what was yet to happen to him. And since the supporting characters (and yes, that includes the basketball team players) were not important enough to remember, I could not care less about any of them either.And last, but not least, the direction, which itself was no better. Some of the shots seem out of frame, while most of the time, they look downright out of focus. All in all, this is, not only the most overrated movie of the year, but quite possibly the worst one that I have seen this year. It is an Oscarbait film, plain and simple, and I’m giving it 1.9/10.

  • jeremi-odrzywolek
    jeremi odrzywolek

    The movie was very predictable. He had a drinking problem and the team had a losing problem and they became intertwined. They both became winners. The problem is there was no real climax to cause him to pivot and stop drinking. It just sort of happened gradually. As did the team winning… there was no real change that caused a call to action. The movie was unoriginal and easily predictable. Pretty bad movie in both the personal growth and sports team categories. Nothing really happened at all. If you need to kill time you can watch.

  • givi-kaxize
    givi kaxize

    Such a film this was! Perfect in every way. Masterful direction and editing, and absolute flawless acting from Affleck!! It is a hell of an emotional rollercoaster and it is as if Affleck was destined to play Jack Cunningham.Freshly out of detox in real life, Affleck could not have been any more believable as the recovering alcoholic seeking redemption. The basketball scenes were phenomenal and it was definitely made easy to get interested in a sport which although may have not been the main focus of the film, it was the main medium by which Affleck sought his redemption. In fact, the results of the basketball was almost directly paralleled with Affleck’s state of mind and for this reason, as the viewer we are even more interested to see the team succeed.The amount of back story and emotion held back by the trailer is also refreshing. I mean, it is obvious the film is about alcohol addiction and redemption from the outset, but there is so much more depth to Affleck’s character by the end of the film. You can feel the journey with him.This film is both a beautifully written fictional story with drop dead cinematography, and it is equally a story of one man and his journey to recovery from a dark place of addiction. In the film, basketball is for Cunningham whereas acting is for Affleck. It is a poignant tale so rarely with the opportunity to be told, and it is told with such realism and attention to detail. I would highly recommend this latest drama from Affleck!!

  • emily-lamore
    emily lamore

    First of all I love anything that Ben Affleck is in he is such an amazing actor that you cannot help but to watch his movies I praise God that the man has gotten help and is taking a stand to come back and be the amazing actor that he is honestly it wasn’t that movie that I would beg you to go see how ever Ben Affleck played his part amazingly as always and for us women he is still one nice looking man I do think the ending could have been a little better other than that I would suggest that you do go and see it it is worth watching if you are a Ben Affleck fan go and support the man think about it whether we drink or not there has been a time in our life that we have all been down and not knowing if we were going to be able to get back up

  • shane-case
    shane case

    “You’re nervous. I get it. The truth is, they’re more talented than you. Probably got a better coach. But I promise you, they are not a better team. Because they haven’t been through what we’ve been through. They don’t know adversity. They don’t know what it’s like to get knocked down and have to get back up again. They don’t know what it is to fight.” 🏀Ben Affleck brings his A-game and a 6-pack of emotional baggage to the court for this powerhouse performance, but sadly he’s deserving of a stronger film. This very familiar redemption story is far from new ground for director Gavin O’Connor, however sticking to genre formula is where the movie truly shines. Exploring themes of fatherhood and self-acceptance in touching sequences with the high school students, Ben’s surrounded by a solid and serviceable lesser-known cast, yet much of the team’s good work is undone by ill-advised plot developments, momentum-halting scenes and a flat, sour ending that leaves audiences wanting more to cheer for.

  • semine-yepelek-kisakurek-manco
    semine yepelek kisakurek manco

    Such a riveting performance from Ben Affleck! Very sad and heartwarming story of an alcoholic that struggles after some losses in his life and becomes a coach of his high school basketball ball team. Quite inspirational well written film that has some has groundbreaking emotions, The Way Back deserves recognition!

  • andree-gonzalez
    andree gonzalez

    Powerful. Raw. Real. The emotions that I felt, watching Affleck’s performance covered the gamut. It was heartbreakingly honest, and didn’t flinch from the horrors of addiction. I will say that watching it was extremely powerful to me, because my father was an alcoholic, and I never understood it. Watching this incredible performance I could see that it was to hide pain, to cover inadequacy, to not feel. One of the most honest movies out there, regarding that. The basketball story was incredible too…somehow I was reminded of Chariots of Fire while watching it. Just how they overcame adversity, and found themselves. This movie is destined to become a classic, in so many ways. Bravo to all who participated, and all who let down their guards and were just real.

  • robert-blackwell
    robert blackwell

    Preview actually showed the entire movie. I should have known. A drama simply means everyone looks depressed and never smiles and they keep playing melodramatic music over and over. I dunno what else there is even to say about this. He goes and yells at the lil rugrats to play harder end of movie

  • hunter-abbott
    hunter abbott

    Ben Affleck gives his best performance of his career in this film. Honestly if I were to watch a sport movie. It would be this one. The feelings this movie give off are outstanding. At one point it’s sad and then at another point it’s funny and happy, and then back to sad. This movie really plays with your emotions, but this movie isn’t about the basketball team at all, it’s about the thrive and healing of a depressed alcoholic. It’s about regaining hope in life and finding something better than himself. Which is basketball. One of the funny things about this movie is that it’s a Christian school and the players and coach use the worst language possible and sexual innuendos, I found that really funny. I don’t really have any problems with the movie. The one problem I might have with it and it’s a big might. But it would probably be the pacing, it just seems to really skip over important scenes too quick. But that may just be me trying to find something wrong with this movie. It says 9/10 but I give it a 9.5. Go see this movie, you will feel better about yourself after you see it. I know I did. Loved it. Will watch it again.

  • upapante-mamala
    upapante mamala

    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.

  • yolanda-woods
    yolanda woods

    I will start by saying that Ben Affleck drinks a lot of alcohol in this movie–mostly beers (a lot of them in the shower) and sometimes a little vodka in his coffee cup.Now, let’s get to the review. I went into this movie thinking it would be another solid sports movie, maybe with the feel of a Coach Carter or a Glory Road, but my oh oh my was I wrong. Yes, basketball is the backdrop of this film, but the story of loss, alcoholism and recovery are at the forefront of ‘ The Way Back.’The movie is not based on a true story, but it pulls largely from the real life story of Ben Affleck who has struggled with alcohol for years and found himself in a rehab facility just before this movie started filming. A functioning alcoholic that tries to make it through each day without completely losing it, he eventually gets the head coaching gig at his old school,where he was the start player, and slowly starts to turn his life around but not without a few hiccups along the way.This film showcases some of Affleck’s best acting in his storied carried, right up there with the likes of Argo and the Town, and it was easy to see that he put everything into this role…unlike Justice League.The Way Back has something for everyone even if you’re not a sports fan. But if you’re not careful tears will sneak up on you when you least expect them.It was great to see Affleck back and hopefully this is the beginning of another solid run of films for him.Special shout out to Glenn Gulia (Matthew Glave) who played the trivial head coach.

  • donna-gamble
    donna gamble

    Whenever a new basketball movie comes out, I am always curious to see how the game is portrayed and what elements are used to differentiate the film from its predecessors. Upon watching, I discovered that The Way Back is not a purely basketball film but a story of a man stumbling through life and using the sport as a branch to prevent him from hitting the ground.Ben Affleck puts a on compelling performance of a man battling his demons and despite basketball managing to bring some happiness into his life, he can never trully heal his scars. Considering how difficult it is to get creative with sports movies, through its narrative, this film manages to put its own touch which will make basketball fans enjoy the grit, realism and attitude towards the game. Music deserves a separate mention as it adds impact to the dramatic nature of the film.#moviesshmovies

  • reet-vahter
    reet vahter

    I enjoyed this movie very much. Rare is a movie that can pull off laughter and tears and throw in some basketball and, of course, Ben Affleck and you got a winner!

  • dimitri-xachapurize
    dimitri xachapurize

    The dialog, acting, the characters, production value, etc. of this movie were excellent. It is a very honest representation of a man suffering with grief and alcoholism.However, it suffers from being a retread of many other similar movies. You can trace the story arc easily and predict what will happen throughout. You also shouldn’t go into this movie thinking it is a ‘sports’ movie, while basketball coaching serves as a vehicle of redemption, you could have written the same movie about someone taking a job teaching a class or working with special needs kids.Finally, be warned that this is a very ‘heavy’ movie. There are a few lighter scenes, but >80% of the movie is dramatic and played for an emotional punch.Worth a watch for Affeck’s performance.

  • joanne-andrews
    joanne andrews

    The Way Back is a movie that is quite enjoyable especially if you are a fan of sports movies and love basketball. Ben Affleck gives a strong performance which feels very personal to him. This element heightens the film even more, it has a lot of things that you would find in the sports genre such as: Motivational scenes which make you feel good and make you want to support the characters. It doesn’t oversimplify the game of basketball as well, the way they use strategies and plays feel like something you would actually see in a huddle of a high school basketball game and as a former assistant coach for a school basketball team I found that to be a really cool element. The way it handles the drama aspects outside of basketball and the real reason as to why the character is an alcoholic I found to be quite compelling and it felt quite emotional at times.The film has a couple of drawbacks with the main one being that this is a little too cliched at times, a lot of tropes that you would see in sports films happen in this one, and I noticed that a lot of elements on the coaches interactions with the players were a little too similar to coach carter, which was a film that handled those elements better. Also the acting apart from Affleck for the most part was sub par, especially in the first act. The run time felt a little too long as well due to the fact that there were a lot of sub plots, I think it could have been better if they would cut some of them out to create a more tighter storyline.Overall, I had a good time with the way back, i think if you’re not a fan of the genre you wont find anything new here. However if you love sports, basketball and typical films in this genre you will have a good time like I did, and the awesome Ben Affleck performance is a bonus.

  • kavaliauskas-dovile
    kavaliauskas dovile

    Who doesn’t like an underdog story but this one felt very personal everything about this movie shouts good I’m glad I watched this film

  • maie-niit
    maie niit

    Love or hate Ben, he’s nothing short of amazing in this film. Congratulations Ben! 👍🏻

  • james-navarro
    james navarro

    I have to say I really enjoyed this film. Affleck turns in possibly his greatest acting performance yet. The sports aspect was very well done but the emotional moments make the film. Definitely some hard scenes to watch at times. I think just as a basketball film it’s quite solid, but the dramatic elements turn this into a great film. Highly recommend it!