‘Waves’ Film Review: Searing Father-Son Drama Examines Race and Masculinity

  • The Wrap
‘Waves’ Film Review: Searing Father-Son Drama Examines Race and Masculinity
It’s rare that the film you least expected to ends up consuming prime real estate in your mind as much as writer-director Trey Edward Shults’ “Waves” has. This quiet festival darling in the guise of a humdrum family drama boasts a top-notch cast — including Renee Elise Goldsberry (“The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks”), Sterling K. Brown, and Kelvin Harrison, Jr. — and tension as tight as a rubber band.

To call “Waves” a pressure cooker would be underselling it. Shults provocatively examines black masculinity and the burden of living up to a societal standard, as well as a parental one. He accomplishes this through the story of Tyler (Harrison), a high-school star wrestler who initially seems like an average teenage boy. He has a cute girlfriend, Alexis. He parties, does some drugs — but apparently not enough to throw him off his wrestling game, God forbid. And like many young men,
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