The latest film from writer-director Trey Edward Shults is Waves, a Sterling K. Brown-led ensemble drama coming to theaters this November courtesy of A24. Fresh off its world premiere at this year’s Telluride Film Festival, the universally acclaimed film’s first trailer has debuted, and to watch is to let emotion wash over you, much like Waves’ eponymous breakers.
The trailer for Waves, a symphony of feelings set to Frank Ocean’s “Godspeed,” focuses far more on establishing tone than conveying information, and the film’s synopsis is equally inexact:
Set against the vibrant landscape of South Florida, and featuring an astonishing ensemble of award-winning actors and breakouts alike, Waves traces the epic emotional journey of a suburban African-American family—led by a well-intentioned but domineering father—as they navigate love, forgiveness, and coming together in the aftermath of a loss.
This Is Us Emmy winner Brown stars as the family’s patriarch, and his loving, yet contentious relationship with his son Tyler (Kelvin Harrison, Jr., best known for Luce and Shults’ It Comes at Night) appears key to the dramatic thrust of Waves. Renée Elise Goldsberry and Taylor Russell round out the family as mother and sister, respectively, while A24 go-to Lucas Hedges, Euphoria star Alexa Demie, Clifton Collins Jr. and Neal Huff play supporting roles.
Waves looks like a breakout film for Shults, whose previous features It Comes at Night and Krisha—both also made for A24—were quietly quite acclaimed, as well. And the move from those films’ psychological horror to the poignant family drama of Waves isn’t the leap it would appear to be: As Paste contributor Andy Crump pointed out in 2017, Shults is “a filmmaker obsessed with family as a locus for tension,” as opposed to one married to any one genre.
Though it’s early days, Waves currently boasts a perfect Rotten Tomatoes score—we could be looking at an Oscar contender here.
Waves will screen at this month’s Toronto International Film Festival before opening in select theaters this November. Watch the film’s first trailer below.