I would give The Way Back 4 and a half stars if the option was available. There is no doubt that this is a formulaic film that tells a familiar story. But I have always maintained that treading on common ground is not a problem if the writing, acting, and directing are done well. And in TWB, all three are done very well. First, this is the type of film that Gavin O'Connor excels at making. I think Warrior was one of the best films of 2011, and I would rate it just above TWB. Which means I think that TWB is still a very fine film. The acting is exceptional, especially from Ben Affleck. I believe that this is the best performance of his career, and I know that personal experience in trial and tribulation helped foster that performance. I think Affleck has always been a good actor, but his strengths remain in the things he does behind the camera (i.e. his writing, and directing). But with this film, he has excelled. I don't know if he overacheived here, and to be honest, I don't really care. I would have no issues whatsoever if he is remembered come Oscar season with his first ever nomination for Best Actor in a Leading Role. Finally I think the writing was pretty solid. Again, this is not a story that is unique. The basic plot structure for TWB has been the framing for countless movies. However, when a film maker is going to tell an old, old story, then the dialogue and the characters have to be strong. And they are here. I thoroughly enjoyed TWB, and I do believe that this is a film that can touch your heart. You just have to let yourself like it.