A nuclear family living an upwardly mobile lifestyle on a bucolic tree-lined street, in sanctified suburbia: teenagers “Tyler” (Kelvin Harrison, Jr. “Luce”) and “Emily” (Taylor Russell) lovingly, firmly trapped under the tutelage of their father, “Ronald” (Sterling K. Brown); stepmother “Catherine” (Renee Elise Goldsberry), a physician, softens the dictates of inexorable Ronald; Tyler is a gifted, competitive wrestler, hiding his deteriorating shoulder from the family; Tyler’s complexities inform the first half of the film; Emily, his younger sister, governs the second half.
Director Trey Edward Shults’, “Waves” soaks the viewer’s attentiveness in a universal conundrum; of little consequence is their genetic heritage; Ronald lectures his son that being African American eliminates the luxury of normalcy; Tyler’s girlfriend, “Alexis” (Alexa Demie), challenged by the effects of unaccountability, changes the course of the scenario; crossing racial boundaries, the film scores in its inclusiveness.
From the cacophonous commencement, exhilarating soundtrack, peaks and valleys are defined by automobile trips; Tyler and Alexis’s disquieting relationship, evolves during playful, traumatic, moments on the move. Emily and her love interest, “Luke’s” (Lucas Hedges), cohesiveness comes to fruition on a trip to visit his dying father. The car allows clarity to emerge, cleansing shadows and doubts in its limited enclosure; vastness, unrestricted freedom of a coursing landscape; driver, controlling the rapidity of culmination.
“Waves” swirls with honor and candor, saturates with tragic, but pragmatic pain; catastrophe, deluged a family, unsuspecting, undeserving, but salvages their dignity in the process.
THREE & 1/2 STARS!!!