Treading Water Film Review

Smelly Kid finds unexpected love in a romantic-comedy flick

Mica, played by Douglas Smith was born with a rare congenital condition that makes him smell like a fish. Needless to say, this made him outcast for most of his life. His doctor diagnosed the problem as a disease called Trimethylaminuria, an incurable body odor syndrome.

The aloof boy was raised by an eccentric mother in a house converted into a museum dedicated to the memory of an obscure Mexican musician. Bedause of his rare medical problem, the young teen grew up very lonely and has become increasingly dependent upon his empathetic shrink, played by Carrie-Anne Moss. She is his steady connection with reality.

Zoe Douglas07

Luckily for Mica, throughout his entire young life, he had one friend who was not repelled by his body odor. She is now a cute girl. Her name is Laura, played by Zoe Kravitz, and she was the only kid willing to attend any of his birthday parties. For a reason unknown to us, his overpowering skunk musk did not bother her. It is not really surprising that Mica has a secret crush on Laura, and that crush endures past the puppy love stage and well into puberty.

That is the premise for this droll dramedy, Treading Water.

Treading Water is the intriguing screenplay and directorial debut of Mexico’s Analeine Cal y Mayor. The talented Latina was ostensibly inspired to write the script by a newspaper article she read in Spain, although this escapist fantasy is much closer to magical realism than anything resembling traditional journalism.

Kravitz attending the 2011 Tribeca Film Festival.

The film’s title may seem far removed from what we know about this film so far, but there is a reasonable explanation that will now become apparent. It turns out that the terrible stench of Trimethylaminuria is mitigated by immersion in water, so young Mica started to spend a lot of his free time in swimming pools.

The swimming pool is also a connector for Mica, because it is there that he meets Laura for the first time in ages. He proceeds to make the most of a second chance to make an impression on his crush.

Credit goes to co-stars Douglas Smith and Zoe Kravitz for generating just the right chemistry as endearing oddballs. They turn this quirky coming-of-age adventure into an appealing romantic romp.

Treading Water

Very Good (3 stars)


Running time: 87 minutes

Distributor: The Orchard

Watch the Treading Water trailer:

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Kam Williams is a popular and top NewsBlaze reviewer, our chief critic. Kam gives his unvarnished opinion on movies, DVDs and books, plus many in-depth and revealing celebrity interviews.

Sadly, Lloyd Kam Williams passed away in 2019, leaving behind a huge body of work focused on America’s black entertainment community. We were as sad to hear of his passing as we were overjoyed to have him as part of our team.