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The Daily Eastern News

The student news site of Eastern Illinois University in Charleston, Illinois.

The Daily Eastern News

The student news site of Eastern Illinois University in Charleston, Illinois.

The Daily Eastern News

COLUMN: ‘Waves’ floods audience with emotions

Sia DeyKoontz
Cam’ron Hardy

The 2019 film “Waves” utilized a wide range of emotions and colors to better further the moving narrative.

The film is split into two parts.

The first part shows us the drastic life changes of Tyler Williams (Kelvin Harrison Jr.). He is the typical high school senior; he parties and spends time with his girlfriend Alexis Lopez (Alexa Demie). He is also a part of the wrestling team, pushed on by his firm father Ronald Williams (Sterling K. Brown).

While wrestling, he is develops a severe injury in his shoulder, causing his season to end early. During this time, he abuses drugs and alcohol and impregnates his girlfriend, which causes his life to spiral.

With the film being distributed by A24, I already knew prior to watching that this was going to have eye catching cinematography. With the works of cinematographer Drew Daniels, “Waves” exhibits an array of colors which are utilized in an uncommon way. But the way that they are used just seems fitting.

I love when films have a large range of colors. It always adds something to the film that is more than a simple plot, and A24 specializes in this area.

There were times when it was blatant about the colors shown, and other times the it was a minor detail such as the neon finger nails of Lopez’s character, which contrasted the harsh blue lighting.

The aspect ratio changes several times when something drastic happens.

Some scenes were serious and harsh, and the claustrophobic feeling of the 1.33:1 aspect ratio helps to make viewers feel these range of emotions.

The camera movements were low key as well. One of the first scenes that invites us into the film is a 360 degree camera shot from the inside of a car. While not outstanding, the limited space made for a difficult filming space.

The acting was convincing as well, especially by Brown. There was a specific scene between characters Tyler Williams and Ronald Williams that started off strict but transitioned into a teaching moment. Just seeing how Brown was able to change his emotion smoothly was interesting.

Growing up in the suburbs, the Williams have a nice house and live in a nice neighborhood, but the lifestyle that Tyler Williams succumbs to after his injury is devastating. His parents worked hard to get them there, and for him to throw it all away is disappointing.

When Tyler Williams found out that his girlfriend was pregnant, I feel like the acting was really realistic up until the his character snaps. The multitude of emotions displayed by him was captivating, and the scene where they were arguing in the car is definitely realistic.

Tyler Williams’ demise was expected, but I didn’t feel sorry for him.

The second part of the film focuses on his younger sister, Emily Williams (Taylor Russell), and it follows the timeline seamlessly of how her brother’s story ends. Her parents’ dynamic starts to change ,which impacts her. She finds a boyfriend named Luke (Lucas Hedges).

We are able to see the passion amongst the family, and we are allowed into a very intimate scene between Emily and Ronald Williams.

Emily Williams’ aspect ratios change as well, which fits the atmosphere of the movie at the time– the ending scene especially with its ultra-wide 1:85:1 ratio.

Throughout the entire film, there are three aspect ratios that are used: 1:85:1, 2:66:1 and 1:33:1. We are introduced to them in the order as they were listed. When the second part of Emily Williams’ story begins, they are told inversely but still representing the emotions of the characters.

I really think this is brilliant.

While Tyler Williams’ story beings happily and comes to a depressing ending, Emily Williams’ story begins miserably and ends seemingly resolved, leaving her feeling free and clear.

She embarks on spontaneous adventures with Luke, which are kind of extreme, but maybe normal for them, especially since they are teenagers.

A24 has unique movies with sometimes extreme plots. With that said, this was probably one of the most ordinary film I’ve seen by them, and not saying there’s anything wrong with either collection of the films, since I love most of the films produced by them.

I praise it so much because of how personal “Waves” is and the relatability factor. There are times when it feels that as a viewer I was intruding.

Rate: 4.5/5


Cam’ron Hardy can be reached at 581-2812 or at [email protected].

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Cam'ron Hardy
Cam'ron Hardy, News Editor
Cam'ron is a junior journalism major. He previously served news editor and campus editor at The News. 

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