Waves belongs to the same universe as distributor A24’s other kaleidoscopic adolescent project from earlier this year, Euphoria. The two works share an actor (Alexa Demie) and a cinematographer (Drew Daniels), and both portray the world-shattering mistakes and disappointments in brusque and brilliant detail that can come to shape a teenager’s sense of self. Shults operates in a heightened atmosphere from the off. His camera seldom sits still, magnanimously panning over every inch of a car-ride or an embrace, taking in the expanse of the beach as much as the pores of one boy’s skin.
Frank Ocean’s songs pierce through fears of loneliness and inadequacy with a rare vulnerability.
Ella Kemp, Sight & Sound
Trey Shults’ tense third feature positions the turmoil of an African American family in riveting cinematic terms, assembling an audacious saga out of constant motion, fraught exchanges, and a killer soundtrack that never lets up. While the movie risks smothering the heart of its drama in all the movement and noise, the sheer sensory overload often leads to astonishing bursts of emotional sophistication.
Eric Kohn, Indie Wire