THE WATER MAN – Review by Susan Granger

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When actor-turned-director David Oyelowo (Selma) was growing up, he missed the sense of magic and wonder that he yearned to experience on-screen and was acutely aware of the lack of mid-budget family films featuring performers of color.

Set in the Pacific Northwest, this story revolves around inquisitive 11 year-old Gunnar Boone (Lonnie Chavis from The Is Us), whose mother (Rosario Dawson) is dying of leukemia and military father (Oyelowo), recently returned from Japan, just moved the family to the small logging town of Pine Mills.

After an eccentric mortician (Alfred Molina) tells Gunnar about a local legend known as the Water Man, dream-haunted Gunnar, who is working on a graphic novel, is determined to track down the mythical figure.

Apparently, the Water Man was a miner who drowned with his wife in a flood. After a mysterious piece of ore miraculously brought him back to life, the nether-worldly Water Man has spent decades searching for his wife’s body so that he can resurrect her.

Toting his dad’s souvenir samurai sword, Gunnar is joined by Jo (Amiah Miller), a homeless teenager who claims to have seen the Water Man on the edge of a nearby forest and can lead Gunnar to him.

But they’re unaware that there’s a raging a wildfire headed toward them, a very real threat that engages the participation of the local sheriff (Maria Bello).

Scripted by Emily A. Needell and produced by Oprah Winfrey, the mystical escapism marks Oyelowo’s directing debut, filming in rural Oregon and incorporating a surprise stampede of wild horses and a waterfall of beetles.

“What’s amazing about streaming is that there’s hard data,” Oyelowo notes. “Netflix can tell you when someone stopped watching and who stayed to the end. We’ve been amazed at its global popularity, reaching Top 10 lists in the Philippines, Romania, Colombia, Spain, Kenya, Nigeria, Portugal, Poland, Malaysia, France, Israel, Kuwait, Thailand, South Africa, Ecuador and Panama.”

On the Granger Gauge of 1 to 10, The Water Man is a subtle, sensitive, supernatural 6, a family-friendly fantasy/adventure streaming on Netflix

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Susan Granger

Susan Granger is a product of Hollywood. Her natural father, S. Sylvan Simon, was a director and producer at R.K.O., M.G.M. and Columbia Pictures; her adoptive father, Armand Deutsch, produced movies at M.G.M. As a child, Susan appeared in movies with Abbott & Costello, Red Skelton, Lucille Ball, Margaret O'Brien and Lassie. She attended Mills College in California, studying journalism with Pierre Salinger, and graduated from the University of Pennsylvania with highest honors in journalism. During her adult life, Susan has been on radio and television as an anchorwoman and movie/drama critic. Her newspaper reviews have been syndicated around the world, and she has appeared on American Movie Classics cable television. In addition, her celebrity interviews and articles have been published in REDBOOK, PLAYBOY, FAMILY CIRCLE, COSMOPOLITAN, WORKING WOMAN and THE NEW YORK TIMES, as well as in PARIS MATCH, ELLE, HELLO, CARIBBEAN WORLD, ISLAND LIFE, MACO DESTINATIONS, NEWS LIMITED NEWSPAPERS (Australia), UK DAILY MAIL, UK SUNDAY MIRROR, DS (France), LA REPUBBLICA (Italy), BUNTE (Germany), VIP TRAVELLER (Krisworld) and many other international publications through SSG Syndicate. Susan also lectures on the "Magic and Mythology of Hollywood" and "Don't Take It Personally: Conquering Criticism and other Survival Skills," originally published on tape by Dove Audio.