Actor David Oyelowo’s keen affinity for his fellow performers is the best thing about “The Water Man,” his directorial debut. Written by Emily A. Needell, the picture is a family drama with a supernatural angle, centered on the disease.
Lonnie Chavis plays Gunner, a sensitive and creative interpellation who works on his graphic novel (the inked frames come alive and talk to him as he draws) while his parents take care of life in a rural town. (The movie was shot in Oregon.) As a father, Oyelowo is a bit obscure about his son’s true passions – he accidentally spills a bottle of Gunner’s ink asking him to come out to “throw the ball.” ball”.
And his mother, (Rosario Dawson), is increasingly confronted with the disease. One morning Gunner walks into his favorite fantasy bookstore and says, “I’m going to need all the books you have on leukemia.”
Gunner soon discovers “the water man,” a local legend who walks the land with a flame of hope in his heart. He gets more information from a reclusive eccentric (Alfred Molina). Then, he enlists a slightly older, semi-Gothic tough girl (Amiah Miller) – whose history of abuse is the opposite of Gunner’s loving house – on a misguided forest hike.
The myth that the movie trucks are in carries allusions to Miyazaki’s “Princess Mononoke” and YA’s novel and film adaptation “A Monster Calls”. But this image is generally a more innocuous vision; even when the narrative calls for a wildfire to raise the emotional stakes, the viewer remains confident that things will work out. The fact that the film’s executive producer is Oprah Winfrey kind of tips the film’s hand; the ultimate point here is this flame of hope.
Rated PG for mature themes. Duration: 1 hour 32 minutes. In theaters and available for rent or purchase on Apple TV, Google Play, and other streaming platforms and pay TV operators. Please review the guidelines outlined by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention before watching movies in theaters.