Waves ★★★★★

I drove home from the theater in complete silence. Normally I’ll turn on some music or a podcast to pass the time, but I was not capable. 

Waves is the kind of film going experience that happens once in a lifetime.


The kind of movie to emotionally gut punch you again and again and again, and by the time you’re done, you’ll want the movie to do it to you again. Seriously, you are not prepared for Waves. 

The usage of color is better than any other film this year. Trey Edward Shults’s direction is the best of the year without a single doubt in my mind. His graceful and elegant camera work shines through as a character of its own. I knew within the first five minutes of the outstanding opening credits that this would be a special movie. The spinning and effortless glide of the camera immerses like no other film this year. It pummels you with the best sound mixing and editing of a film this year. And Shults could have chosen no better composers than Ross and Reznor. The score pumps scorchingly intense life into an already scorchingly intense film. 

This isn’t a film, but rather a sensory overload that envelops you in almost every conceivable emotion. At times you will feel elated, and others (most often others) you will feel devastated. Truly, this movie broke me multiple times. It’s the highest praise I can give to say that at one point in the film, I was incapacitated. I could not move after witnessing what had just transpired. The pure intensity of the first half of this movie is a feat. The buildup to the fateful party midway through was a technical marvel, with unbelievable color scheming and a one take to blow the rest out of the water for 2019 (1917 notwithstanding). 

The way in which this film handles it’s transition from one protagonist to another is one of raw beauty. It felt effortless. You go from a gut wrenching mid act to an equally powerful finale. As I saw someone comparing it to on another review, this is the Moonlight of 2019 without being thematically anything like Moonlight. This movie isn’t a light and fluffy piece of cinema, but rather something that requires thought and contemplation to fully appreciate how expertly it examines the power of love in the worst of scenarios. Forgiveness is no easy thing, as this movie shows, but that’s the only way that love can win out, and yes, love ultimately does win out. 

I have felt no emotional heft in a movie this year like I have watching this Waves. It is absolutely perfect in every conceivable way. It reminds one of the awesome potential that movies have. To captivate and reward the patient. To showcase powerhouse performances (the entire cast is Oscar worthy, I couldn’t pick a best performance because they’re all incredible), and to ultimately satisfy the viewing public. Make no mistake, this is no crowd pleaser. This movie goes to the deep, dark places of the human mind and yet, I still felt as though mercy and love won out by the end.

You will not feel good once you finish Waves, but by God you will feel alive.

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