Joel Lake’s review published on Letterboxd:
Gavin O'Connor once again proves he can make a great sports film ( as he did in 2004 with Miracle and 2011 with Warrior) that tells the story of a former basketball destined for greatness(played to near perfection by Ben Affleck) who now must fights his demons to coach a team to the championship.
Affleck is so great in his role as he can emote strength and vulnerability sometimes in the same scene. He has such a layered character here thanks to O'Conner who has worked with Affleck previously in 2016's The Accountant. The story also is able to subvert expectation leading to an earned ending that doesn't need to follow some formula to succeed.
Affleck's story feels real as a result and his character helps elevate everyone around him as every actor feels important to the overall story.
Overall, The Way Back feels like a human story told through a sports lens and as a result feels real. The emotions exuded feels honest and overall tells a great story.