As a former dancer, you are conditioned to push through the pain until that one day off rolls around. Often times, those injuries end up being a nagging inconvenience and sometimes they can cut a promising career short of its expectations.
The future is bright for Tyler (Kelvin Harrison, Jr.) and he seems to have it all. Tyler comes from a wealthy, supportive family, he’s a high school wrestling team star, and has a girlfriend (Alexa Demie) that loves him to death. Committed to being the best, mornings and nights are spent training under the watchful, yet supportive eye of his Dad (Sterling K. Brown). However, when pushed to the limit, cracks of this perfect existence begin to surface setting the stage for a true American tragedy of epic, yet familiar proportions.
Featuring an ensemble of searingly spot-on performances and evocative imagery, the film grabs and sweeps you under the current holding your breath with insane intensity. Conceived in collaboration with his lead actor, this deeply personal film is tough on the outside, tender when it needs to be, and never anything less than completely unlike anything you’ve ever seen.
With abuse subjects via opiates, verbal and spousal, Waves weeps you into familial tornado that will leave you emotional raw, disturbed and overwhelmingly annoyed. Kelvin Harrison, Jr. as Tyler is phenomenal. Watching an actor of his bredth and emotional maturity tackle such psychologically complex characters is refreshing and exciting. The young ladies (Taylor Russell, Alexa Demie and Renee Elise Goldsberry) are holding their own as well. Sterling K. Brown is exhibiting a very different type of Dad than the one fans of NBC’s This Is Us experiences weekly. Brown is quietly menacing as a Dad whose emotional mood swings are as a result of his opiate dependency. But, the stars of this film are the women. Renee Elise Goldsberry will break your heart as a Step-Mom doing her best to keep up the facade of a perfect family and marriage while slowly standing on the sidelines watching it all fall apart. Her courtroom scene will leave you breathless. Taylor Russell is stunningly simple as the eclipsed sister snuggling with her identity and sheer existence until she meets a man who aids her in realizing her purpose. Alexa Demie (Euphoria) gives teen pregnancy a whole new meaning, but not portraying herself as a victim. She stands up for what she believes at her own peril.
Waves is film that encompasses ripples of societal norms and expectations, then flips it completely on its head. Director Trey Edward Shults exquisitely weaves a story focused on how family painfully navigates through love, forgiveness and the aftermath or tragedy. It is truly one of the most complex, thought-provoking films of 2019 and I can’t wait for you to see when A24 drops it on November 15th.