Waves – a Black Middle Class Suburban Family Life is Shattered.

Set against the vibrant landscape of South Florida, ‘Waves’ traces the epic emotional journey of a suburban African-American family – led by a well-intentional but domineering father – as they navigate love, forgiveness and coming together in the aftermath of a loss.  Kelvin Harrison Jr is amazing as Tyler a teenage black youth driven to excel in school sports by his ambitious but ultimately misguided father played by Sterling K Brown.   Tyler is in a relationship with Alexis (Alexa Demie) who is a popular and beautiful girl in his school.  But Tyler’s life starts slipping out of control when his doctor tells him that he has pushed his young athletic body too far and needs an urgent operation that will force him to stop his wrestling training and disappoint his father’s ambitions.

Seeking solace in alcohol, prescription drugs and pot, Tyler rapidly descends into a drug induced mania with tragic consequences for the whole family, their lives changed forever.  At this point I and most of the audience assumed the film had finished but we were wrong.  A whole new storyline started involving Tyler’s young sister Emily (Taylor Russell) and her love story with shy guy Luke which changed the whole rhythm of the film and not in a good way.  Not quite sure what Trey Shults was hoping to achieve but it made the film very long and finally unsatisfying.

Catch this at BFI London Film Festival 2019


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