I’ve made it clear that Ben Affleck‘s basketball coach alcoholic in The Way Back struck me some time ago as totally naked — perhaps (probably?) the closest-to-the-bone performance he’s ever given.

This is emphasized by the fact that The Way Back isn’t a “let’s man up and put our problems behind us so we can win the playoffs” drama — it’s an emotional (and psychological) saga of a guy who’s furious about something ghastly that happened to him and his ex-wife, and about how he copes with this terrible scar on his heart and soul. I love how The Way Back isn’t afraid of Jack’s rage and subliminal longing for self-destruction — it digs right down into that pit. It isn’t the least bit tidy or sanded down or escapist.

This plus the fact Affleck seems to have lost about 30 or 40 pounds since Naomi Fry‘s “Sadness of Ben Affleck” piece ran in The New Yorker (3.24.18)…a change that I’m processing as a visual metaphor for the shedding of issues that were dragging him down..this also is a good thing.