***Spoiler Alert for Netflix’s Awake***

Awake centers on Jill (Gina Rodriguez, star of the CW’s Jane The Virgin), an ex-soldier and the mother of Matilda (Ariana Greenblatt of In the Heights), and Noah (Lucius Hoyos). After an unexplained power outage and the appearance of satellites in the sky, the majority of the world’s population becomes unable to go to sleep. In the hopes of finding a cure, scientists create a facility to experiment on those remaining few who are still able to rest––Matilda among them.

Given its unique premise (I personally have not seen many sleep-deprivation-centric films), I assumed Awake could be a hit! Unfortunately for Jane Gloriana Villanueva… I mean Jill, it was a miss.

As much as I wanted to enjoy the film, there were simply too many flaws in the plot to ignore. To save you the trouble of discovering them on your own, here are a few:

Flaw #1: Coming to the conclusion that people couldn’t sleep 

There isn’t anything in the opening scenes of the film to suggest that everyone cannot actually go to sleep. Somehow, the main characters come to that conclusion by making the random connection between their current state and widespread power outage.

Flaw #2: Overexaggerated/inconsistent sleep deprivation symptoms 

The film seems to take an accelerated version of sleep deprivation. For example, in one scene we have naked men and women standing in the middle of the road staring off in one direction (I’m not sure how that relates to sleep deprivation, but hopefully I never find out). But this contradicts how the main characters appear. After all, it can be assumed that everyone has been up for the same amount of time, more or less. But we don’t see the main characters, especially Jill, acting in a manic, crazed, or confused state until the end.

What I was craving more of in the film was to see each lead descend further into the symptoms of their sleeplessness. Noah seems to suffer little to no effects of lack of sleep, and Jill does not progress to a severe state until the end of the film, which seems a little too late.

Flaw #3: The church scene.

What was the actual purpose of the scene portrayed in the church? Other than the suggestion of death (or sacrifice) as a cure for the unexplained impossibility to sleep, and the possible connection to the baptism-like way Noah and Matilda led Jill into the water, it didn’t have much impact.

Flaw #4: The doctor 

Honestly, the big reveal of the identity of the doctor in the last few scenes of the film was lackluster at best. For about 3 minutes we have a Wizard Kelly-ish camera view obscuring the doctor’s face, and once he is finally revealed, there’s nothing significant about who he actually is––in fact, there are no prior scenes with him involved in any way (not even a cool ominous supervillain backstory).

Flaw #5: The first encounter with the other Sleeper 

Throughout the film, after the realization that death is probably imminent for herself and her son Noah, Jill tries to show Matilda a few life tricks that she can use after they’re both gone. This insinuates that Jill doesn’t have any plans to have another person raise her daughter. So where did the random idea of the other sleeper becoming Matilda’s next guardian arise? Considering Jill originally didn’t want to bring her daughter to the hub where they were trying to find a cure in the first place, I was utterly shocked to see her say in the latter end of the film that she wanted a frail, probably 80-something-year-old woman nearly on her deathbed to become the sole guardian of her child.

Flaw #6: The cure

Luckily, by film’s end, the characters discover a cure for sleep deprivation–but the ending still leaves us with so many questions: What next? What about the satellites in the sky? How are they going to save others (because who would believe someone saying “Hey, let me kill you so I can bring you back to life so you can live”)?

With the myriad of inconsistencies in the plot, Awake didn’t meet any of my expectations. I think that the film missed a huge opportunity, especially in the execution of its plot. With many of the ideas presented contradicting themselves and rarely any focus on the progression of sleep deprivation in main characters, Awake simply did not meet the bar.

If you still want to, you can stream Awake on Netflix now. 

 

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