Grackles review Waves

Directed by Trey Edward Shults

Reviewed by Scott Ray and Charlie Riccardelli 

Waves is the third film by writer/director Trey Edward Shults. Shults, a young filmmaker from Texas, burst on the scene with the South by Southwest debut of his film Krisha, a domestic drama shot entirely on location at Shults’s parents’ house, consisting of a cast that primarily consisted of Shults’s family. It is unusual that a film shot under these constraints catapults a director to the types of opportunities Shults received after A24 acquired the film. This is a testament to the talents of Shults and perhaps the cache and support A24 can lend to a young filmmaker. He followed up with the psychological thriller It Comes at Night, before returning to a more domestic mode with Waves.

Waves begins by showing us the world of Tyler Williams (Kelvin Harris, Jr.), a popular high school wrestler, in his senior year—that time when the simplicity of childhood begins to come to an end. Tyler lives in the photogenic backdrop of South Florida, in a comfortably affluent suburb. As Tyler’s world becomes more complicated, when athletic dreams are curtailed by the realities of injury and personal relationships become tumultuous as the result of an unplanned pregnancy, the film culminates in an event that will change the Williams family forever. After this event, the story becomes more about his sister (Taylor Russell), her relationship with their father (Sterling K. Brown) and stepmother (Renée Elise Goldsberry), and about how families stay families—or don’t.

Scott Ray: Fro