“Waves” Review

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During the Atlanta press run, I was fortunate enough to see Waves. The private screening was held at Atlanta’s SCAD Show theater. After the screening, actors Sterling K. Brown and Kelvin Harrison Jr. and writer and director Taylor Russell and Trey Shults respectively were on hand to speak on the film.

The film takes you on a family’s emotional journey through anger, sadness self-acceptance and ultimately truth and forgiveness. The lead character, Tyler Williams (Kelvin Harrison Jr), is a popular high school student who has spent his life trying to be the man his father Ronald Williams (Sterling K Brown), wants him to be. Throughout the movie, we learn that no matter what happens, those expectations are never met and conclude tragically. Emily Williams (Taylor Russell) is the younger sister who falls in the shadows of her brother and her story really comes to life after the movie’s unexpected climax. She is on a journey to learn who she is while ultimately being the shoulder for her father to cry on while he was experiencing is own disappointments. Catherine Williams (Renée Elise Goldsberry) is Ronald’s wife and the stepmother to Tyler and Emily. She came into the kid’s lives after the unfortunate loss of their mother and has been the maternal figure for most of their upbringing. The movie takes its most dramatic turn after Tyler experiences an injury that changes the life that not only he but his father had planned for him. The Williams family would never be the same.

As a young Black man, I know the pressure of expectation that society has on us, the pressures from family and their expectations on us. Then to top it off, you are adding the pressure to be everything everyone else wants you to be in addition to your own expectations for yourself. Most of us who are reading this can identify with Tyler in the movie. Most of us can understand each and every family member and the dynamic they play in Waves and our very own lives. This movie is certainly the epitome of the cliche’ “this really hit home” because it does. 

Without giving away the meat of the movie, I’ll leave you with this; if you aren’t an emotionally strong person please bring your tissue. If you are an emotionally strong person, bring a tissue. This movie is going to have you experiencing emotions you didn’t know you had. Don’t just take my word for it. See it for yourself.

Waves is currently playing in New York and LA and will have wide release November 29. Check out the trailer below.

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