Awake parents guide

Awake Parent Guide

A good premise and poor execution make for a disappointing film.

Overall C-

Netflix: A cataclysmic event wiped out the world's electronics and destroyed people's ability to sleep. With one exception - a little girl whose mother has to keep her safe.

Release date June 9, 2021

Violence D
Sexual Content B-
Profanity D
Substance Use C-

Why is Awake rated TV-MA? The MPAA rated Awake TV-MA

Run Time: 96 minutes

Parent Movie Review

Night shift security guard Jill (Gina Rodriguez) has struggled to adjust since returning from military service overseas. Although she kicked her drug habit, it cost her custody of her children, Noah (Lucius Hoyos) and Matilda (Ariana Greenblatt), who now live with her former mother-in-law, Doris (Francis Fisher). But these issues fade in importance when a huge solar flare produces an electromagnetic pulse, knocking out almost all modern technology. Worse, it seems to have physiological effects that stop everyone from sleeping. Well, almost everyone. Matilda is one of the only people on earth getting any rest. Her peaceful slumber stands in contrast to the consequences of prolonged sleep deprivation: irritability, irrationality, and eventual madness and death. Jill must find a way to keep her children safe in a world busy destroying itself, and she’s going to have to do it before the crushing fatigue takes its toll on her.

Science fiction lives and dies on premise. A good premise is worth at least three big name actors and the special effects budget to boot. Take the recent French sci-fi thriller Oxygen. It has a cast of, essentially, one person, a few voice actors, one set, and a handful of CG shots. But it’s a very effective film because the premise is so strong. Awake definitely has a solid premise, but how does the rest of the film hold up?

Unfortunately, not nearly as well. The dialogue is spotty at best, and bizarre at worst. Some of the dialogue seems to come out of nowhere, like wandering into a bus station where some local maniac is mid-conversation with himself. While it may sound intriguing, it’s not going to make a ton of sense. There are also a few incidents that feel like they were supposed to be a call-back to another scene…except that scene either never existed or was, for some reason beyond the understanding of us mere linear mortals, left on the cutting room floor.

As far as parents are concerned, Awake sends up some red flags. There’s a healthy helping of profanity throughout (including 31 sexual expletives) , and one of the most random nude scenes I think I’ve ever seen. It’s completely non-sexual in nature, but it’s also not necessary to the story or characters. Director Mark Raso could have picked almost anything else to demonstrate the irrational behavior that comes with lengthy sleeplessness, but instead I got to spend my Wednesday afternoon looking at a gaggle of middle aged nudists wandering around on a public highway. Even dedicated sci-fi/disaster fans might want to give that one a miss. I feel like I just wandered in to a YMCA changing room. I gotta go give my retinas a shower.

Directed by Mark Raso. Starring Gina Rodriguez, Ariana Greenblatt. Running time: 96 minutes. Theatrical release June 9, 2021. Updated

Watch the trailer for Awake

Rating & Content Info

Why is Awake rated TV-MA? Awake is rated TV-MA by the MPAA

Violence: People are injured in a car wreck that pushes one vehicle into deep water. Dead bodies are seen with injuries, typically gunshot wounds. People are stabbed and shot.
Sexual Content: A crowd of people is seen nude in a non-sexual context.
Profanity: There are 31 sexual expletives, 13 scatological terms, and occasional use of mild profanity and terms of deity.
Alcohol / Drug Use: There are references to illegal drug use and addiction, and people are seen selling drugs.

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Awake Parents' Guide

How dependent are you on technology? What would happen if the technology you rely on stopped working? Have you ever tried a technology fast or digital detox? What did you learn from the experience?

Psychology Today: Going on a Tech Fast

Vox: What’s all this fuss about “digital detox” – and does it really work?

The New York Times: Steve Jobs Never Wanted Us to Use Our iPhones Like This


Home Video

Related home video titles:

This movie borrows some elements and shots from Children of Men. If you like that kind of science fiction, you may also enjoy The Midnight Sky or Snowpiercer. If you prefer the apocalyptic end of things, you should try I Am Legend, World War Z, Knowing, or Greenland. Gina Rodriguez can also be seen in crime-thriller Miss Bala.