The film is a semi-autobiographical story about a young fiction writer who becomes tetraplegic fully paralyzed in a hiking accident and works to rehabilitate his body and mind at a rehabilitation center. The title refers to a dream recounted by Raymond, the Snipes character, about dancing on the surface of a lake. Since, in Raymond's dream, he must continue dancing on the lake or sink and drown, the dream may be a metaphorical reference to the necessity of continually coping with the world.
Joel Garcia (Eric Stoltz) is a writer who, after a hiking accident at a mountain, must struggle with paralysis. At the same time, he carries a relationship with Anna (Helen Hunt), a married woman, with whom he was having an affair at the time of the accident. The lovers attempt to carry on their affair during his emotional and difficult rehabilitation as a paraplegic.
The Waterdance received mostly positive reviews from critics; it holds a 93% approval rating at Rotten Tomatoes.
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