Waves follows the story of 17-year-old black student and wrestler Tyler (Kelvin Harrison Jr.) living with his family in a beautiful home in sunny Florida. His father, played by Sterling K. Brown, constantly pushes him over his limits both physically and mentally. Tyler comes into conflict with himself, his girlfriend (Alexa Demie), and, most importantly, his family. He continually abuses his dad’s painkillers as the tension slowly builds to one shocking event taking place halfway through the movie.
From there, Writer/Director Trey Edward Schults seamlessly switches the main character, allowing the viewer to see the family’s struggles from a different and more innocent perspective.
To me, this is what made the movie so special. The movie-going experience felt new, and boy, was it ever emotional. The entire theatre was in tears for nearly the whole film. Just when I thought I’d finally stopped crying, more heart-wrenching dialogue would be said, and I found myself silently sobbing again. Luckily, I watched Waves while sitting alone with a large popcorn in the front row of the Rio Theatre.
In terms of cinematography, Waves was beautiful to look at. Visualize what a Frank Ocean song would look like—crashing waves, pastel skies, and talented black artists in their well-deserved spotlight. I recommend this movie to anyone with an appreciation for emotional narratives.