Alcoholism can be a very arduous addiction for someone to overcome. Ben Affleck, himself being someone who has a background history of struggling with alcohol, shows us exactly how that can be achieved through his incredibly inspiring and captivating performance.
The Way Back (2020) is directed by Gavin O’Connor and stars the notable Ben Affleck, Janina Gavankar, Al Madrigal, and Brandon Wilson.
Along with them include other pronounced actors and actresses that benefit and add to the plot.
This Sports/Drama is about Jack Cunningham who was once an honorable basketball superstar in his high school days, but now lives as an isolated, purposeless man with a meaningless construction job.
He also struggles with drinking alcohol and tempering his use of it, and sees no foreseeable vision in his future.
One day however, he receives a call from his long-forgotten Catholic Priest who runs the school he used to attend.
He opportunistically offers him a chance to redeem himself by electing him to be a coach for the varsity basketball team and propel the group to competitive success.
Story & Writing
I felt super motivated and encouraged throughout this movie. At no point did I get the impression it was dragging on.
Each scene provided an important element to the story by giving backstory to the characters, especially Ben Affleck’s, and mesmerizing the crowd with riveting basketball plays that stimulate the viewer.
The narrative was clear and easy to follow, moving forward with careful attention and coherent direction.
When the film started with the introduction of Affleck’s character, I felt soothed and relaxed with the piano sound effects.
They were bittersweet and contemplative, like I was in a state of limbo being held with a warm, lively feel.
The setting is also well-established in the beginning with an atmosphere of somberness and dark gloom to reflect the life and current mood of the main character.
As the movie progresses, the tone shifts to curiosity and challenge with training and rigor in the sports environment.
Nearing its end, it then captures and intrigues the viewers’ attention with stunning displays of team effort and heartfelt scenes that are endearing.
The screenplay and writing altogether did an excellent job of evoking in me an uplifting emotion that assuredly felt influential.
The performance done by Ben Affleck was without a doubt the best.
The passion and courage with which he used to motivate and inspire his team was like no other.
His character over went deep, emotionally dramatic development not only from his struggles with fighting alcoholism, but also being put under pressure to prove to himself and the people around him of his energetic effort to advance the varsity team to the playoffs.
Although the other cast did great with their performances as well, I still would’ve found it more beneficial to the plot as a whole if more of them had an extra bit of growth with their characters.
For example, one of the varsity players on the basketball team had a strange proclivity to dance around wildly whenever a game was won.
That honestly kind of rubbed me the wrong way.
Another had a tendency to make sexually implicit remarks and flirtations to the cheerleaders on the stands.
That also kind of weirded me out.
Some outright didn’t even talk. The only one I can remember that got any considerable amount of exposition was the captain of the team, Brandon, played by Brandon Wilson.
His character’s interactions with Jack were good to watch and really effectively gave me an understanding of who this person was and why he was on the team.
It would have been even better if more of them were given that essential treatment to provide a more engaging investment to the overall story.
Overall, I can’t think of a better way to be thrilled and inspired on an average Friday than by viewing this great piece of work.
Without watching the trailer, I first thought this was based on a true story.
It wasn’t unfortunately, although I definitely would’ve been convinced otherwise if someone told me it was right after I got done watching it.
The ending of this film left me feeling with a sense of pride and accomplishment within myself, like I was there with the cast and crew working diligently to achieve the same goal.
On a deeper level, what’s important to remember from this experience is the value of persistence and determination.
Anyone struggling with any sort of difficulty in their life, like alcoholism, can immediately overcome it by seeking help from those around and, most importantly, looking inward to come to terms with the reality of their situation.
FP Score – Noteworthy