'The Water Man' review: David Oyelowo'scoming-of-age directing debut comes wiith the Oprah seal of approval

The movie’s centerpiece is Lonnie Chavis, who performs the youthful Sterling Ok. Brown (one of the variations of him, anyway) on “This is Us.” Here, he is solid as Gunner Boone, a boy whose mom (Rosario Dawson) is battling most cancers and whose somewhat-distant father (Oyelowo) has come house after being stationed overseas.

Alarmed to see mother’s situation worsening, Gunner begins frantically researching leukemia, and in addition learns of an area fable (or not) about the Water Man, a supernatural determine who legendarily has the energy to convey individuals and animals again to life. Told by a believer (Alfred Molina) that the spectral presence resides in the woods, Gunner a bit too naively embarks on a visit to seek out him, accompanied by an area woman (Amiah Miller) who appears largely interested by getting her palms on his financial savings.

Lonnie Chavis and Rosario Dawson in 'The Water Man' (Courtesy of Karen Ballard).Lonnie Chavis and Rosario Dawson in 'The Water Man' (Courtesy of Karen Ballard).

Such journeys are actually a tried-and-true motif of kids’s literature and films (see “Stand By Me”), made extra resonant on this case by the underlying idea of a child grappling with the prospect of his mom’s loss of life, one other extraordinarily sturdy theme.

Still, “The Water Man” feels a bit watered-down even by the requirements of its style, with considerably much less heft than the outdated Hallmark Hall of Fame films, which created an aesthetic surroundings to promote greeting playing cards (simply in time for Mother’s Day) woven into the drama.

The film’s limitations are considerably belied by its elegant trappings, which embrace the aforementioned casting and Winfrey (who previously worked with Oyelowo on “Selma”) amongst the producers. Even so, the actual anchor is Chavis, a gifted younger actor who wrings as a lot emotional mileage out of the conditions as he presumably can.

“The Water Man” is receiving a simultaneous theatrical and digital launch, however its logical house might be on tv, the place this might need change into a fixture had the execution been a bit sharper. As is, Oyelowo’s movie delivers its easy message to understand the individuals you’re keen on ably sufficient, with out leaving the supposed ripples in its wake.

“The Water Man” premieres in theaters, on demand and digital on May 7. It’s rated PG.

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