What parents need to know

Parents need to know that The Way, Way Back is an empathetic, entertaining coming-of-age dramedy that rings true on many levels, capturing what it's like to be a 14-year-old boy surrounded by adults who should be doing a better job of acting their age. Some themes (i.e. infidelity) may be too much for tweens, but teens will appreciate the challenges the main character faces and how he decides to confront them. Expect scenes showing adults in various states of inebriation (mostly giggly and neglectful), seducing others who aren't their mates, and being cruel to teens, among others. A teen is shown sneaking a few beers into her purse; others talk about how one teen supplies adults with weed. Language includes one "f--k," plus "s--t" and "a--hole," and there's innuendo and stolen kisses between a couple who are involved with other people.
  • Families can talk about what makes The Way, Way Back a coming-of-age story. What elements define that subgenre to you? What are your favorites, both on screen and in book form?
  • Talk to your kids about the challenges of being the child of divorced parents. How does this film portray the adults? Are they responsible parents? What other challenges does Duncan face due to his parents' split?
  • How does the film depict drinking? Are there realistic consequences?
  • Why do you think Duncan feels so distant from his mother? Are his reactions realistic? Understandable? Why does he feel so alone?
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