Review: Waves

If you haven’t heard the name Trey Edward Shults before, you better get used to hearing it. A LOT. Shults’ new film Waves, should be considered his coming out party and asserts itself as one of the best films of 2019.

Waves is the portrait of the Williams family seen through the eyes of the two children, Tyler and his sister Emily, played by Kelvin Harrison Jr. and Taylor Russell, as they navigate through the triumphs and difficulties of their everyday lives and how the family wrestles through the aftermath of a shocking and tragic incident that rocks their lives forever. Waves is ultimately a story about forgiveness and the grueling path towards it that is paved with pain and love.

This movie shook me to my soul! I can’t recall the last time I’ve seen a picture so rich with raw, relentless and innovative storytelling prowess told with incredible, playful visual appeal! I dare to say that Waves may be 2019’s Moonlight; it’s that awesome of a film!

Trey Edward Shults has written and directed a movie that has the power of an actual force of nature! At times this movie works like a torrential series of tidal waves that just bear down on you over and over without remorse or reservation and it also works like a gentle series of waves that just meet the shore and deliver a sense of calm and tranquility. The way this movie is written, is so authentic and tangible, it draws you in naturally and beguiles you with such breathtaking imagery and drama that could pass for reality; I was blown away by this revelation of a film!

I made the comparison to Moonlight because of how this movie told this story but in a completely different way. Telling the story of this family through the perspective of two children and the lows and highs they go through, it all felt so seamless and gripping to watch.

The three leads in this film are Harrison Jr., Russell and Sterling K. Brown who portrays the patriarch of the Williams family, Ronald, and they are all outstanding; Brown and Harrison Jr. could practically be up for awards for their performances in this film. The cast also features Alexa Demie, Renée Elise Goldsberry, Lucas Hedges, Bill Wise, Albert Link, Clifton Collins Jr., Holland Hayes and Krista Fairchild, and every actor you see on screen serves a purpose in this picture.

Trent Reznor and Atticus Ross’ music was booming, Drew Daniels’ cinematography is gorgeous and playful, Isaac Hagy and Shults’ editing was phenomenal, Elliott Hostetter’s production design is wonderful, Adam Willis’ set decoration was great, Rachel Dainer-Best’s costumes were great; everything I saw that went into the making of this film was on a completely different level compared to anything else I’ve seen so far this year.

Coming out of Waves, I am convinced that I just saw this year’s front-runner and favorite for the Best Picture category at next year’s Oscars. This movie is a true force to be reckoned with!

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