New wave of black films crests at 2019 Toronto International Film Festival

“Waves” (**1/2) Filmmaker Trey Edward Shults made an impressive directorial debut with the ultra-realistic family drama “Krisha.” This return to familial themes focuses on a wealthy black household. A dad (Sterling K. Brown) and stepmom (Renée Elise Goldsberry)—helicopter parents—pressure their teenage son (Kelvin Harrison Jr, “Assassination Nation”), a high-school wrestling champion, to succeed. He, however, is clandestinely living large, beset with injuries and having major girlfriend problems. The plotline in Acts I and II leads to a clichéd stereotypical interpretation of a young black man’s life, which would be suspect coming from a black filmmaker, and is almost insulting coming from a white one. Act III takes the film in a completely different direction, which is fraught with heavy emotion that doesn’t always ring true. Something like TV’s overly touchy-feely “This Is Us.”

In theaters Nov. 15, 2019. Info: a24films.com/films/waves

About Dwight Brown

Dwight Brown is a film critic and travel writer. As a film critic, he regularly attends international film festivals including Cannes, Sundance, Toronto and the American Black Film Festival. Read more movie reviews by Brown at DwightBrownInk.com.

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