Ride Your Wave is one of those frustrating 80% movies: it reaches 80% of what it was aiming for and falls flat on its face in the doing. That said, much of this is due to a personal dislike of musical montages as a way of carrying the emotional resonance of a film, this is an approach that often fails for me.
So, your mileage may very well vary on Ride Your Wave.
Directed by Masaaki Yuasa, Ride Your Wave is a surfing romance tragedy with riding the waves as a surfer used as a metaphor for riding the waves that life throws at you.
Hinako Mukamizu returns to her childhood town to take up surfing and start her college studies. Minato Hinageshi rescues her from a fire, and as part of teaching him to surf, Hinako and Minato fall in love.
I honestly don’t know what to say about this sequence of the film. It’s well enough presented for what it is, and if the musical montage of the romance works for you then the rest of the film will as well.
Later on Minato drowns whilst trying to rescue others, and the film enters into the supernatural phase where Hinako can see Minato in water whenever she sings the song “Brand New Story”.
This act of the film again relies on a musical montage to show how Hinako is not dealing with Minato’s death, not moving on, and generally being unable to ride the waves of life or the ocean.
Mostly I was just sitting there. It was OK I guess but didn’t really work for me.
I do like how Ride Your Wave ended, especially once we get past the climactic action sequence (which, again, meh) to seeing how Hinako has now moved on to riding the waves of life and the ocean.
Ride Your Wave isn’t a bad film by any means, but it wasn’t really a film for me. Ride Your Wave is currently on limited theatrical release in Australia.