Ben Affleck phenomenal in sports drama 'The Way Back'
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Ben Affleck phenomenal in sports drama 'The Way Back'

An alcoholic, who's a former high school basketball star, returns to his alma mater as the new boys basketball coach and looks for redemption on and off the court.

Ben Affleck plays Jack Cunningham, a former high school basketball star who is asked to be his alma mater's new basketball coach, in feature film "The Way Back."
Warner Bros. Pictures/Youtube

Ben Affleck has his own struggles with alcoholism, so it's no wonder he can astoundingly deliver a realistic depiction of a man's spiral down the bottle.

Affleck teams up with "The Accountant" director Gavin O'Connor again for "The Way Back." It's an adult sports drama that will capture your attention from beginning to end with an emotional rollercoaster that doesn't hold back its punches.

Jack Cunningham (Affleck) is a construction worker who always has an alcoholic beverage within arm's reach – even in the shower. His marriage with Angela (Janina Gavankar) is falling apart and he feels distant from his family. But one day his Christian high school Bishop Hayes offers him a basketball coaching job because he was a former star player at the school in the 90s. The team hasn't made the playoffs in 20 years, so can Jack bring the team to victory while fighting his own emotional baggage?

Affleck perfectly plays such a complex role of a once successful basketball player to a man destroying himself by clearing out a fridge full of beer cans. It's easy to feel each emotion and sigh with each drink he takes, especially when his reason for drinking is revealed.

The boys on the basketball team bring most of the well-deserved laughs in this movie with foul mouths, and they are an essential vehicle for Affleck's journey toward redemption.

Though a little predictable, it's a great story. And although the framing is appreciated, it's also interesting. The first half of the movie is mostly about his relationship with the basketball team sprinkled with his personal struggles, then the last half is primarily about his emotional relationships and what drove him to drink with little focus on the basketball team. It would be nice to know more about how Jack became an alcoholic before a resolution.

But the ending rightfully gives a bittersweet close to remind us that there's always hope.

Score: 7/10.

"The Way Back" is in theaters March 6.

Follow Samantha Incorvaia at @_SamI520.

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This article has not been reviewed by Odyssey HQ and solely reflects the ideas and opinions of the creator.

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