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Waves (2019)

Jack-Arthur Whitlock

On February 21 this year, I watched a movie called “Waves” which came out last year in 2019. This movie stars Kevin Harrison Jr, Sterling K. Brown, Taylor Russell, Alexa Demie, and Renée Elise Goldsberry. It is directed by Trey Edward Shults who only directed one other movie called “It Comes at Night” which I saw once. “Waves” was a better movie in that the acting was stellar, cinematography was mesmerizing and the story and themes were grounded and heartbreaking.

“Waves” takes place in South Florida and from the opening shot alone i could tell the protagonists Tyler and Alexis were driving on the bridge to Miami beach which I’ve been to like 100 times so the movie felt more cathartic due to the familiar setting. Tyler has a very controlling father who is constantly pushing him to work out and be the best wrestler he can be. While the father’s motivation seems to make Tyler the best man he can be, his way of forcing him to live his life a certain way seems very controlling and at times a little cruel from a personal standpoint. The dialogue and relationships between Tyler and his family and girlfriend feels extremely realistic due to the amazing script and performances by the entire cast.

I don’ want to go too in depth with the main conflict because the outcome to what happens between Trey and his girlfriend Alexis and what actions he takes is one of the most unexpected, depressing events I’ve seen in a movie. The movie unconditionally is separated into two stories instead of one. The first half follows the young man Tyler and the second half has his sister Emily and what she has to live with because of the events that happen to Tyler in the first half of the movie. The second part has Emily and her parents dealing with the trauma and trying to live their lives despite what occurs. The entire experience makes it feel like the viewers themselves were also dealing with the family drama and the way the movie concludes feels both bittersweet but also almost hopeless.

The movie’s use of color and daylight was very impressive with almost every frame being of a painting especially the scenes with Tyler and Alexis at the beach. What they both go through is what many relationships also deal with and can very easily happen. This movie teaches a lesson with what happens when a father pushes too far and makes their son suffer with constantly working as hard as he can and taking failure to a ninth degree. The wrestling scenes that Tyler goes through feel so real and painful which gives the audience a great sense of how struggling wrestling can be. The scenes with Emily feeling saddened by trauma and trying to grow up in her adolescent years with her horrible curse makes the viewers care deeply for her. There were some scenes with Emily’s boyfriend played by Lucas Hedges that were really boring and I could not care less about his stupid dying dad and besides that the movie was very well made and affecting. I would recommend this movie to almost anyone if you can deal with some violence and realism. It’s one of the better movies of 2019 for me.

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