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Following its world premiere at the Telluride Film Festival last week, A24’s Waves earned rave reviews and early awards season buzz. Now, with the release of the film’s theatrical trailer, we can begin to see what all of the hype is about.
From writer-director Trey Edward Shults, the intimate drama follows a Black suburban family plunged into tragedy and working to resurface from the trauma. The trailer, set to Frank Ocean’s 2016 cut “Godspeed,” taps into some of the film’s visceral emotion, featuring stirring performances from Sterling K. Brown (This Is Us), Renée Elise Goldsberry (Hamilton), Kelvin Harrison Jr., Taylor Russell, Lucas Hedges (Lady Bird), and Alexa Demie (Euphoria).
But this gorgeous glimpse does little to highlight the film’s unusual structure; Waves is split into two acts, each focussing on one of the Williams’ teenage children — alpha male athlete Tyler (Harrison Jr.) and quiet Emily (Russell). From the looks of it, Shults is empathetic with his lens, capturing the highs and lows, the ebbs and flows, of young people on the brink of the realities of adulthood. True to the youth experience it seeks to examine, it appears equal parts vibrant and heartbreaking.
And according to early reviews, it features the kinetic music of the aforementioned Ocean, in addition to Kanye West, Kid Cudi, Radiohead, and more, with an original score from Trent Reznor and Atticus Ross (The Social Network).
Waves continues its film festival circuit at the Toronto International Film Festival this week, where we’ll see if the film’s awards season momentum continues to build. Until then, it’s time to listen to Blond until Waves crashes into theaters on November 1, 2019.