The Way Back ★★★½

I don't care about sports, so I rarely care about sports movies, but the hype over Ben Affleck's performance seduced me into a matinee. I have never been particularly impressed by him, even in Gone Girl, which I would have called his best performance before The Way Back, he seems to be playing an easy interpretation of himself. In his new film, he's still playing a version of himself, but a more difficult one, requiring self-reflection a lot of people aren't really capable of. His troubles have been highly publicized, and channeling them through the usual cliches of sports movies and addiction dramas doesn't take away from the truth in it. He's as good as they're all saying.

My mom makes alcoholism movies difficult to watch. She's "functional" in that she's never been fired for drinking on the job, and entirely dysfunctional in that she shares the rhythmic routine that sees a twelve pack whittled to nothing in a matter of hours. Affleck's character here does it by himself, she does it surrounded by her husband she lost affection for long ago, and her three kids who know better than to try to talk, just as alone and by her own design. That's how things used to be, anyway, I can't imagine it's too different now that two of us are gone. She's threatening to visit in June and I'm dreading it. I just don't know if she possesses the self-awareness to ever work through it.

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