The Waterdance

Watch The Waterdance

"Sometimes, life happens by accident."
  • R
  • 1991
  • 1 hr 46 min
  • 6.8  (4,176)

The Waterdance is a drama film from 1992, directed by Neal Jimenez and Michael Steinberg. It stars Eric Stoltz as Joel Garcia, an aspiring writer and paraplegic who is mourning the loss of his ability to walk after a random shooting incident. He is hospitalized and must adjust to his new life in a wheelchair, sharing the space with other people with disabilities.

The movie begins with Joel being admitted to a rehabilitation center, where he meets Raymond Hill (Wesley Snipes), a cheerful man and a paraplegic as well, and Bloss (William Forsythe), a quadriplegic man who is fighting his own battles. Raymond becomes Joel's closest friend, a lifeline in his new, unfamiliar environment, who gives him advice on how to deal with the psychological, emotional and physical pain that comes with his injury. Bloss, however, is a more elusive character, showing flashes of rage, bitterness and despondency, which make Joel wonder what is behind his attitude.

As Joel tries to adapt to his new life, he becomes acquainted with Anna (Helen Hunt), a physical therapist who is young, vibrant and pretty, but also married, which creates a tension between them. Anna is the only able-bodied person in the center, and is in charge of helping the patients regain their strength and mobility. Although Joel is intrigued by her and wants to get closer, he is hesitant, especially since he is still trying to deal with his own sense of identity and sense of loss.

The movie uses a non-linear structure, showing flashbacks of Joel's life before his injury, as well as dream sequences and stream-of-consciousness scenes that depict his fears, anxieties and hopes. Through his interactions with Raymond, Bloss and Anna, Joel learns to communicate, to express his emotions, to confront his fears and to find a new sense of purpose. He starts to write again, which gives him a sense of fulfillment and self-expression. He also begins to confront his relationship with his girlfriend Sam (Helen Shaver), who is unable to accept his disability, and his parents (Grace Zabriskie and Wesley Addy), who are well-meaning but sometimes insensitive.

The Waterdance is a poignant and honest portrayal of the challenges and triumphs of people with disabilities, as well as their families and caregivers. It explores themes of identity, love, loss, resilience, and creativity, with a mixture of humor, pathos, and psychological insight. The performances of the cast are all deeply moving, with Eric Stoltz conveying Joel's struggles and aspirations with subtlety and nuance. Wesley Snipes adds a buoyant and inspiring presence to the movie, while William Forsythe gives a complex and compelling portrayal of a man who is trapped in his own body. Helen Hunt shines as Anna, a character who is not merely a love interest or a plot device, but a person who is struggling with her own demons and limitations.

The movie has some poignant moments, such as when Joel hears the story of how Raymond became a paraplegic, or when he has a dream about walking again. It also has some humorous moments, such as the wheelchair race between Raymond and Joel, or the scene in which Bloss cracks jokes about his caregivers. The cinematography is both realistic and poetic, capturing the confined spaces of the rehabilitation center, as well as the natural beauty of the surrounding mountains and forests. The soundtrack is also evocative, with songs by Bob Dylan, Bruce Springsteen, and Van Morrison contributing to the emotional impact of the movie.

The Waterdance is a movie that defies easy categorization, as it deals with issues that are both universal and specific. It is a movie that can be appreciated by anyone who has ever faced a crisis, a setback, or a transformation in their lives, as it shows that even in the darkest moments, there is a possibility of growth, connection, and renewal. The Waterdance won the Audience Award at the Sundance Film Festival in 1992, and has since become a cult classic, beloved by audiences and critics alike for its honesty, humor, and humanity.

The Waterdance is a 1991 drama with a runtime of 1 hour and 46 minutes. It has received mostly positive reviews from critics and viewers, who have given it an IMDb score of 6.8.

The Waterdance
Where to Watch The Waterdance
The Waterdance is available to watch, stream, download and on demand at FuboTV. Some platforms allow you to rent The Waterdance for a limited time or purchase the movie and download it to your device.
  • Release Date
  • MPAA Rating
  • Runtime
    1 hr 46 min
  • Language
  • IMDB Rating
    6.8  (4,176)