Waves (2019)

You have so much love to share with the world and so much life yet to live.

Let me just start by saying that this film was beautifully crafted and executed. The storyline is so touching and relatable while the acting is tender and authentic. The casting and acting is spot on. “Waves” tells the story of a suburban black family — led by a well-intentioned but demanding father — as they navigate the waves of life and a tragic event that changes all of their lives. The film deals with living up to expectations, not being a stereotype, societal and family expectations, grief, loss, violence, love and forgiveness. It is also a story about growth and living with the consequences of our actions. At its heart, its definitely a family drama but there is also teenage romance and first love woven throughout.

Written and directed by Trey Edward Shults (“It Comes At Night,” “Krisha”), “Waves” is a bleak and tragic story but it is still hopeful in the end. I think the beautiful cinematography and locations along with the use of color and sound design keep this film from being dark although the subject matter of a family (particularly a black family) dealing with the pressures of life is somewhat tragic. It is artistic but doesn’t come across as super “art-house almost over ones head.” “Waves” is simple yet emotional but it will definitely leave an impact on you once you’ve finished watching (but that’s what a great film is supposed to do, right?!) This film definitely gave me some “Moonlight” vibes…it is a story about a black family but at its heart it’s a universal story that transcends race. And I did appreciate the fact that the film was very diverse, cast-wise.

And I can’t finish this quick review without touching on the amazing cast. Kelvin Harrison Jr. (“Luce” “Monsters and Men”) plays Tyler, the son who is trying to live up to his father’s expectations without losing himself along the way until one fate filled night. Taylor Russell (“Escape Room”) plays Emily his somewhat naive younger sister who is trying to navigate not only her coming-of-age and first love but also the changes within her family. There’s also Lucas Hedges who plays Luke, Emily’s new boyfriend who’s dealing with family issues of his own. I haven’t seen Lucas in a role yet that he hasn’t absolutely killed. The chemistry between those two is so sincere and innocent. The two really help each other through trying times. Harrison Jr. also seemed made for his role. Sterling K. Brown and Renée Elise Goldsberry play the parents…I haven’t seen anything they’ve done where they haven’t fully enveloped themselves in their roles.

So in sum, if you haven’t seen “Waves” yet, definitely watch it…if you’ve seen it before, watch it again!

Currently streaming on Fubo and Showtime on Amazon.