Regardless of your generation or gender, there's much to appreciate in this film about two young women moving from their adolescent lives into the wider world.
"Not Waving But Drowning" is the story of Adele, who leaves for New York City, and best friend Sara, who stays behind in their Florida hometown. It could be the stuff of well-trod cliché, but it is not. There are surprising twists and discoveries in their separate journeys as they try to retain their yin/yang friendship. Megan Guinan is wonderful as a multifaceted Sara who seems stuck in place, but might not really be so stuck. And the scene when Adele arrives in the big city is poignant, yet also very funny. Adam Driver is marvelous as the seemingly dorky, yet touchingly honest, new friend of Adele.
There are so many beautiful cinematic scenes: one involves a horse on a train; another involves Sara moving through a field of dandelion puffs that is lovely by itself, and the subsequent scene that reveals why she is gathering them is heartfelt and glorious. The characters develop through multiple experiences that are sometimes uncomfortable or worse. Yet, overall there's so much energy, humor, and truth that the film feels very balanced. The editing and music are dynamic and keep the viewer highly engaged.
The producer and director intrigue us with their short intro film, "The Most Girl Part of Me." It is not directly connected to "Not Waving," but is tied thematically and is a creative addition.