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

The movie’s focal point is Lonnie Chavis, who plays the more youthful Sterling K. Brown (among the variations of him, anyhow) on “This is Us.” Here, he’s cast as Gunner Boone, a young boy whose mom (Rosario Dawson) is fighting cancer and whose somewhat-distant daddy (Oyelowo) has actually gotten home after being stationed abroad.

Alarmed to see mommy’s condition worsening, Gunner starts desperately investigating leukemia, and likewise discovers of a regional misconception (or not) about the Water Guy, a supernatural figure who legendarily has the power to bring individuals and animals back to life. Informed by a follower (Alfred Molina) that the spectral existence lives in the woods, Gunner a little too naively starts a journey to discover him, accompanied by a regional lady (Amiah Miller) who appears primarily thinking about getting her hands on his cost savings.

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

Such journeys are definitely a reliable concept of kids’s literature and films (see “Stand By Me”), made more resonant in this case by the underlying principle of a kid grappling with the possibility of his mom’s death, another exceptionally long lasting style.

Still, “The Water Man” feels a little diminished even by the requirements of its category, with rather less heft than the old Trademark Hall of Popularity films, which developed an elegant environment to offer welcoming cards (in the nick of time for Mom’s Day) woven into the drama.

The film’s restrictions are rather belied by its elegant features, that include the abovementioned casting and Winfrey (who formerly worked with Oyelowo on “Selma”) amongst the manufacturers. Nevertheless, the genuine anchor is Chavis, a talented young star who wrings as much psychological mileage out of the circumstances as he perhaps can.

“The Water Man” is getting a synchronised theatrical and digital release, however its sensible house will be on tv, where this may have ended up being a component had actually the execution been a bit sharper. As is, Oyelowo’s movie provides its easy message to value individuals you like competently enough, without leaving the desired ripples in its wake.

“The Water Man” premieres in theaters, as needed and digital on May 7. It’s ranked PG.

Jobber Wiki author Frank Long contributed to this report.