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Parents' Guide to

The Wave

By Jeffrey Anderson, Common Sense Media Reviewer

age 16+

Intriguing but mature, offbeat mystery has drugs, language.

Movie R 2020 87 minutes
The Wave Poster Image

A Lot or a Little?

What you will—and won't—find in this movie.

Community Reviews

age 10+

Based on 1 parent review

age 10+

No escape

Just fine

This title has:

Too much violence
Too much swearing

Is It Any Good?

Our review:
Parents say: (1 ):
Kids say: Not yet rated

Starting as a drug-fueled, night-out-gone-wrong story, this clever little film soon turns into a metaphysical mystery that engages and intrigues with its vivid, offbeat characters and smart dialogue. Above all, The Wave suggests that the universe, in a constant yearning for harmony, tends to balance bad things with good; it's a most warming message for very tough times. It quickly and happily sidesteps the perceived goal of getting Frank to his important meeting on time and starts concentrating on bigger mysteries. The dialogue has a way of not only sounding real and funny but also containing layers, little clues that point to the movie's themes.

Written by Carl W. Lucas and directed by Gille Klabin (the latter making his feature debut), The Wave doesn't forget to have fun. From the mysterious man at the party to Frank's CEO boss (forever holding a clinking glass of whisky on ice) and a philosophical drug dealer (Ronnie Gene Blevins), the characters are swiftly drawn, the flashes of time are doled out economically and cleverly, and the filmmakers demonstrate an assured, crisp use of color and space. It's perhaps a little too lowbrow to reach the heights of other great, existential comedy-mysteries (like Being John Malkovich), but, in its own way, The Wave works well.

Movie Details

  • In theaters: January 17, 2020
  • On DVD or streaming: January 17, 2020
  • Cast: Justin Long , Donald Faison , Sheila Vand
  • Director: Gille Klabin
  • Inclusion Information: Black actors
  • Studio: Epic Pictures Releasing
  • Genre: Thriller
  • Run time: 87 minutes
  • MPAA rating: R
  • MPAA explanation: strong drug content and language throughout, some disturbing images and sexual references
  • Last updated: June 20, 2023

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