7+ The Way Back Reviews – Ben Affleck as damaged basketball hero doesn’t shoot, but still scores

The Way Back ⭐️⭐️⭐️

Affleck explained that the high school basketball team in his new movie reminds him of filming “School Ties” and starring alongside Brendan Fraser, Matt Damon, Chris O’Donnell, Randall Batinkoff, Andrew Lowery and Anthony Rapp.

Ben Affleck says ‘The Way Back’ reminds him of ’90s film ‘School Ties’

… you have been warned SPOILERS ahead….

Cardboard Character Team

The basketball team, save for the star athlete, wasn’t very fleshed out with characters having many arcs. It’s clear the script wanted to focus as much energy, emphasis and time on star Affleck. I could have done with fewer scenes of him tipping back drinks at the bar and getting the guy to help him to his house and a little more stories behind the basketball players and how they were changed by the coach and playing more as a team.

In fairness, there was some attempts made for a couple characters, but they were more pastiche than flesh and blood. Like the kid who was always trying to make out with the girls and running late to practice. Is that all there was to his character? How about the tall forward who got kicked off the team and then invited back because he was always late to practice.

Who was that good Samaritan at the bar helping out Affleck’s character, anyway? Another character helping him out that doesn’t really have anything else to do in the movie except wait at the bar for Jack Cunningham (Affleck) to be past his limit and then help him to his house.

The Broken Marriage was a bit empty

So Jack and his wife are separated and she’s sleeping with another guy. We are left as viewers to believe this happened because Jack started drinking to deal with the death of their son. His wife must not have been able to handle the drinking and that was the cause of their separation.

I didn’t care enough to want to get them back together. It wasn’t so much a lack of chemistry, as I did believe that they were a couple, but the movie would have been better had I wanted them to get back together. Maybe that’s a bit of a romance genre inspiration, but felt that the way they were left was missing something. An emptiness.


I liked how Jack never picks up a basketball until the ending scene. We keep expecting him as the coach to take a three point shot and swish the net or drive up on the lane and dunk it, so the final scene pays off the character’s skillset fully coming out of stasis.

Reviews by Others

Here are reviews from other movie bloggers for The Way Back.


  1. Chris Longo / Den of Geek: “Affleck seems to channel his own personal demons directly into Jack in a performance that is complicated and vulnerable, slowly peeling back the shell that Jack has encased himself in until we get to the heart of the agony that drives him into the bottle every night.”
  2. DiscussingFilm: “…is a slam dunk for Ben Affleck. It is the emotionally poignant character drama that we yearn for and should be rewarded for its honest yet still entertaining depictions of a delicate subject matter.”
  3. filmfanstake: “Affleck delivers a beautiful performance. He has his past to draw from to bring Jack to life. This is the most human performance I’ve seen from him.”
  4. Moore Reviews / Tom Moore (4/5): “…eludes most of its clichés by offering viewers a more personal story that O’Connor and Affleck absolutely thrive in.”
  5. Music City Drive-in / Jacob Thronberry: “…becomes a product of its own cliches with a very “by the book” story, but is absolutely elevated by a hellacious performance by Ben Affleck. One that if the film was released later in the year, or if more of the first half gave Affleck his time to shine, we may be talking about serious award consideration.”
  6. screenaddictreviews (3.5/5): “the movie’s heart is just not found here”
  7. Wannabe Movie Critic (84/100): “in The Way Back he’s big and messy and covered in beer sweats. Affleck will break you down, he chips away at you slowly, until he himself breaks.”

Not Recommended (or on the fence)

  1. Bringin The Juice: “They either needed to focus more on the rehab or the basketball but neither felt like they got enough attention when the movie ended.”

Linked above and wondering what would be the cool thing to do next? Commenting once in awhile is always good (I like reader and other blogger interaction). If you have the trackback/pingback come to your site then just approve it because after people read your review then they can come here and follow links and read someone else’s review. What comes around goes around and sharing is the ultimate “thank you!” on the internet.

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Happy movie watching!

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