FINDING THE WAY BACK (15)
FINDING THE WAY BACK (15)
Director: Gavin O’Connor
Runtime: 108 minutes
Cast: Ben Affleck, Al Madrigal, Michaela Watkins, Janina Gavankar, Glynn Turman
Synopsis: Jack Cunningham was a high school basketball superstar who suddenly walked away from the game for unknown reasons. Years later, he’s now stuck in a meaningless job and struggling with alcoholism – the very thing that ruined his marriage and his hope for a better life. But Jack soon gets a shot at redemption when he becomes the basketball coach for his alma mater, a team that has fallen on hard times since his teenage glory days.
Directed by Gavin O’Connor [The Accountant (2016), Warrior (2011)] and written by Brad Inglesby, this drama about alcoholism, grief and redemption is carried by a powerhouse performance from Ben Affleck.
Back in his high school days, Jack Cunningham (Ben Affleck) had everything going for him. A basketball phenomenon, he could have been a professional, 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 winning team, he may get his last shot at redemption.
The film also stars Al Madrigal (Night School), Michaela Watkins (TV – Casual), and Janina Gavankar (TV – True Blood).
With cinematography by Edward Grau and an atmospheric score which adds grit by Rob Simonsen, Finding the Way Back might be a traditional sporting drama which uses familiar tropes like that of a coach taking a losing team to glory, but it manages to do it in a way that feels heartfelt. This is solely because of the compelling performance of Ben Affleck as a man battling his demons and attempting to bring some happiness into his life despite scars that he can never fully heal.
The film explores major themes of fatherhood, grief, marital breakdown and self-acceptance and produces moving sequences with the high school students, played by a lesser-known ensemble cast who give solid backing to Affleck.
Despite the sad themes, there are encouraging elements of happiness from sport and community and hope about someone trying to find himself after being lost for so long.
Streaming on: Sky Store, Amazon Prime Video,
iTunes/Apple, Google Play, YouTube, Virgin, BT, Talk Talk, XBOX, Sony Playstation,
Images courtesy of Warner Bros