“The Way Back” is a film that Ben Affleck hopes will help him find the way back. His career has been going in drunken circles, pretty much like his life.
Affleck – Matt Damon’s brilliant young Boston buddy who shared an Oscar with him for the screenplay of “Good Will Hunting” – showed great promise.
Like a Twins Study, Affleck and Damon offer interesting comparisons. Damon is an A-lister with Academy Award nominations, a happy marriage with kids. Affleck leaves behind some clunker movies (“Daredevil,” “Gigli”), failed relationships (Gwyneth Paltrow, Jay-Lo, ex-wife Jennifer Garner), a few MeToo allegations, and an uncertain future. But he had shown promise with such outings as “Argo,” “The Town,” and “Gone Girl.” He won a second Oscar with “Argo.”
At 47, Affleck is trying to “reclaim his life and reorder his life.”
Don’t confuse “The Way Back” with the 2010 Peter Weir film of the same name. The Weir film starred Ed Harris and Colin Farrell as escapees from a Siberian gulag. There are also several other films titled “The Way Back.”
The Affleck film (directed by Gavin O’Connor) is a sports drama. Affleck plays a former high school basketball star brought back to coach his ol’ alma mater’s team. The question is, as the team starts to win, will he be able to confront his old demons?
It’s a story about a man struggling with alcoholism, divorce, and midlife disappointment” – kinda like Affleck himself.
“The Way Back” opened Friday.
Ben Affleck says making “The Way Back” helped him find his way.
“I don’t know all the answers,” said the actor. “I’m only an expert in my own failings. But the more expert you become … the less likely you are to repeat them, I’ve found.”
He adds, “That is how my life has been getting better. I have a better relationship with my kids today than I did three years ago. I have a better relationship with my ex-wife, I think, than I did three years ago. I think I’m a better actor. I think I’m a more interesting person because most of the growth I’ve had has come from pain.”
The film was originally slated to be titled “The Has-Been.” Let’s hope that’s not the ultimate fate of Ben Affleck.