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Awake
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Reviews & Ratings for
Awake More at IMDbPro »

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194 out of 290 people found the following review useful:

Caught a preview screening of this tonight and I'm awfully excited about it

Author: Hugh Crain from United States
27 September 2006

I'm not going to put any spoilers in this review, but this is certainly a movie with some great twists and turns. I haven't been this excited about an upcoming release since The Sixth Sense or Memento. Hard to believe this is the director's first feature (although it's possible he cut his teeth in the commercial or music video world... I'm not sure) I mean, certainly the film has a few problems, some of the moments didn't ring exactly true to me and the music was a touch maudlin at times. But when this film gets it right, it gets it really right. I was on the edge of my seat from the second act on. It's the first film I've seen in awhile that manages to balance a genuine emotionality with a strong thriller aspect. Even Hayden Christensen, who I think we all had our doubts about after Episodes I-III, puts in a memorable and affecting performance. Definitely a film to see and a director I'll be keeping my eye on.

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149 out of 212 people found the following review useful:

Why only 6.4? I was so entertained!

8/10
Author: krisvenema from Boston
11 January 2008

I did not read reviews till after I saw this, and I am appalled. To each his own, but I felt as if I had held my breath the whole movie. And what a great ending to make you feel you so got your moneys worth. And how enchanting was Jessica? Adorable and virtually perfect in the role. Such a great ride. One of the best movies I have seen in the past year.

Also, it seems many feel the length of the movie is too short, but who says 2 hours is required? My stress level was so high throughout, and everyone in the theater kept laughing at parts, not because it was funny, but as a defense mechanism from the aforementioned stress. Perfect acting? Maybe not, but it was certainly very good... in my humble opinion. I can tell you to go see it, but no order needed to enjoy it... that part comes easily, without force. Cheers.

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97 out of 140 people found the following review useful:

Unexpected "Awake"

9/10
Author: jon.h.ochiai (jochiai@socal.rr.com) from Los Angeles, CA
2 December 2007

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

"Awake" makes it crystal clear from the very beginning that 1 out of 300 people under anesthesia remains awake during surgery—an unfathomable outcome. Hayden Christensen plays Clay Beresford, who discovers that he is awake during heart transplant surgery. Having an out of body experience he screams, "I am so f---ed!" However, Clay's conscious state is the least of his ensuing tragedy. In director and writer Joby Harold's unexpected "Awake", all is not at all what it seems in a surprising tale of love and betrayal. Hayden Christensen and Lena Olin are awesome and electrifying as they elevate "Awake". Christensen proves that he was victim of the script writing in the "Star Wars Episode" movies. He is electrifying in "Awake". Lena Olin, who plays Clay's mother Lilith, is amazing as she reveals her character's power. There is such grace and poignancy when her Lilith confesses to her son, "I am so proud of the man, you have become…" Jessica Alba struggles here as Clay's wife—his Mother is unaware of their relationship and marriage. As Sam, Alba plays a key pivotal role; however, does not yet possess the dramatic gravitas or depth to carry this off. Terrance Howard is strong as Clay's surgeon, but his performance is flawed in its emotional ambiguity. For the most part these failings do not distract, only because of the power of Christensen and Olin. Even with some of the narrative shortcomings, I really applaud "Awake" for its story of love everlasting and acknowledging the greatness in others before it is too late.

Hayden Christensen is Clay Beresford. He is a young, brilliant and wealthy New York philanthropist. As successful as Clay has become, he still thinks he pales in comparison to his late business mogul father Clay Sr. Clay's beautiful and protective mother Lilith relentlessly pushes her son toward greatness. We discover in a Japanese business conversation that Clay's heart is literally failing—he is a transplant candidate. Much to his mother's chagrin instead of choosing her world class heart surgeon friend Dr. Neyer (Arliss Howard), Clays has chosen his dear friend Dr. Jack Harper (compassionate Terrance Howard) for the critical procedure. Clay is loyal to Jack, who first saved him from a heart attack. Unbeknownst to Lilith, Clay is in relationship with Sam (Alba) and wishes to marry her which would inevitably enrage his mother. The melodrama eventually arrives at its tipping point: Clay goes under the knife to receive his new heart. Remaining awake under anesthesia turns out to be the least of his worries. Here director and writer Joby imaginatively crafts his story and our consciousness.

At less than an hour and 20 minutes, the narrative is riveting with pathos and convolution, before arriving at its affirming conclusion. Christensen is absolutely amazing. He displays a tangible humanity and disguises a quiet force and power. Lena Olin is phenomenal. She is rock solid as the "Awake" emotional anchor. Her dramatic turn is beguiling and touching. With the graphic open heart surgery sequences, "Awake" may not be for everyone. Keep in mind that "Awake" is more than just its medical scenario. "Awake" is a moving story of love and greatness, well worth a watch.

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55 out of 72 people found the following review useful:

A good little thriller

7/10
Author: moviesleuth2
2 May 2008

Some of the hardest reviews to write are the ones where you don't know what to say. "Awake" is one of them. Let me just start with the basics. Do I recommend it? Yes. Is it GOOD? That's what's hard to say about this movie. Some parts of "Awake" are good, but some are merely okay.

Like many thrillers, telling much about the plot defeats the purpose of seeing the movie. However, I will tell as much as I can.

The story goes like this. A rich young man named Clay (Hayden Christensen) goes into the hospital for a heart transplant, and he suffers from anesthetic awareness (meaning he can feel and hear everything, but can't do anything about it). This is key because what he hears changes everything.

That's about all I can say. "Awake" is an entertaining little thriller, and Jody Harold certainly has potential as a writer/director. His low-key handling of the film makes for an interesting, almost dreamy approach, but I don't know if it works like it's supposed to, because I have a feeling that it decreases the amount of suspense that the material warrants. That said, the unusual tone makes up for this deficiency.

The acting is solid too. Hayden Christensen became famous for his portrayal of Anakin Skywalker in the second and third "Star Wars" episodes. His first outing wasn't great, and called into question his acting ability. However, his second round with the light saber was terrific, and his performance here shows that "Episode 2" was more likely to be an anomaly than the norm when it comes to his acting ability. His co-star Jessica Alba isn't as good, but it proves that she has more acting ability than many people give her credit for (her reputation for being a tabloid sensation and the limited acting options that result from it are probably to blame). Terrence Howard is solid, but he isn't given much to work with. Same goes for Lena Olin.

Personally, I think it sucks when you like a movie but a lot of that feeling disappears when someone points out something that causes that to decrease. Such a thing happened with me and reading a review after watching "Awake," but I won't say it because it's still a good movie to see.

So, is "Awake" a good movie, or just a movie with enough good points to warrant a viewing? I'd say it's somewhere in between, leaning more towards good.

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59 out of 82 people found the following review useful:

Hitchcock lite, but not bad

8/10
Author: sackjigler
1 December 2007

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

It's a shame that this movie has gotten very little publicity and probably will tank at the box office, because if you go into this with an open mind and not trying to figure out every little twist and turn, you,ve got yourself a very nice little thriller on your hands. The cast ill admit are not all top notch in the acting field, but believe it or not, work rather well. Terrence Howard is always good, Jessica Alba actually turns in a very decent performance, and Hayden Christensen is Annakin Skywalker as a billionaire. The movie is short and yet still does a pretty good job developing the characters. There are several twists and turns in this film; some easy to see coming, others surprising, and some not necessary. But you should appreciate the attempt whether or not you saw it coming. The story goes that Hayden is a billionaire who buys and sells companies and also continues to assure people work in the city. He has a heart attack at a young age so must be placed on the list for a donor heart. His father died when he was young and he now takes care of his mother who does not want to let him go. He has been dating Alba for a year and still has not told his mother for fear she will not approve. Skip some things to not give away too much plot details and they find him a donor heart. Once in surgery, they put him under for the transplant yet he can hear everything and feel everything that is happening to him while the surgery is going on. That is all I can give away. Please check this out if you can, it is a good thriller and deserves a look. Im sure some will be disappointed, but most should go into this and come out with a smile on their face.

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75 out of 114 people found the following review useful:

Old Fashioned Entertainment: Awesome!

10/10
Author: bpl908 from United States
31 December 2007

I keep thinking about this movie. There are all these "awards" movies out there, and some of them (think JUNO) are really great, but others are just pedigree films that we "should" see but we don't actually really want to see or enjoy seeing. Then there is AWAKE. This is a movie with a capital M. This is a movie where you just have a roller coaster great time. Leave your inner critic at home and just sit back and enjoy the riveting entertainment. It has amazing twists that even the lame critics who said "they didn't like this film", sheepishly admit was incredibly well done. I did notice that Roger Ebert didn't follow the crowd and said it was great. Because it is. Awesome.

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57 out of 89 people found the following review useful:

exciting

9/10
Author: mattkratz (themattk@hotmail.com) from Richardson, TX
10 January 2008

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

This was a thoroughly watchable and exciting medical thriller about a man who goes in for a heart transplant operation. The problem is, they don't use enough gas to knock him out completely, and as a result he remains fully alert during the operation but unable to talk or move. He then learns that the people involved are planning to kill him. He has an out-of-body-experience and learns more. You will need to listen closely to the conversation to pick up clues. You will also be truly surprised as the movie progresses. It reminded me a bit of an old Alfred Hitchcock Presents episode where a drug dealer is involved in a car accident and left completely paralyzed-but alive and in a similar situation. I really recommend this film and was very glad I finally got around to watching it in the theatre.

*** out of ****

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46 out of 70 people found the following review useful:

Not the worst, not the best

5/10
Author: blackcat324 from United States
3 December 2007

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

It seems that the comments have been one extreme or the other - people have either loved it or hated it. I'm right in the middle. I'm glad I saw it, I don't want my money back. But I won't add it to my DVD collection, either, though I admit, it's mostly the genre.

The major problem for me in this movie was the script. I kind of felt like it was a waste for Lena Olin and Terrance Howard. Believe it or not, Hayden underplaying it worked. I just wish he'd get more consistent. He was brilliant in "Shattered Glass" and "Life As a House," but flat in the Star Wars movies. This performance was in between. While his voice can be somewhat monotone, his facial expressions continue to knock me out.

Who surprised me was the much maligned Jessica Alba. I've never seen her in anything, so I was expecting the worst. I was pleasantly surprised. Though she could have upped the ante a little bit at the end, she did infinitely better than I thought. And no one does the human weasel like Fisher Stevens! There were some macabrely funny moments and some nice twists. The problem is the plot also had one twist too many. I thought the final twist with Clay's father was totally unnecessary.

The movie might not be for the squeamish. I had to look away more than a few times and half way through the movie I realized I had put my hand over my heart in several scenes. I have to say in that sense, it worked.

I know this movie has caught some slack for medical inaccuracies. I'm usually a stickler for accuracy, but really, are people going to see this movie to learn how to be a surgeon or to get the crap scared out of them? I say if it's the later, it works!

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29 out of 38 people found the following review useful:

Mother's Heart

8/10
Author: Claudio Carvalho from Rio de Janeiro, Brazil
14 September 2008

The twenty-two year old Clay Beresford (Hayden Christensen) is a genius of finance secretly in love of his mother's secretary Sam Lockwood (Jessica Alba). Clay has a complex, expecting recognition from his mother Lilith Beresford (Lena Olin) that he is as capable as his father was, and he needs heart transplantation. When Clay finds a donor compatible with his rare blood, he requests his friend Dr. Jack Harper (Terrence Howard) to operate him under the protest of his mother that wants the famous Dr. Jonathan Neyer (Arliss Howard) responsible for the procedure. On the eve of his heart surgery, Clay marries Sam and during the surgery, he experiences an "anesthetic awareness" that leaves his conscious but paralyzed. Clay witnesses the dialogs in the room and discovers dark secrets about his surgery.

"Awake' has a simple but effective story about a wealthy young man that needs to be submitted to heart transplantation and experiences an anesthetic awareness discovering that things are not like he believes they are. The cast is excellent, leaded by the still gorgeous Lena Olin, Terrence Howard, Jessica Alba and Hayden Christensen. The plot point was a great surprise for me and I really like this original movie. My vote is eight.

Title (Brazil): "Awake: A Vida Por um Fio" ("Awake: Life in the Edge")

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27 out of 37 people found the following review useful:

This movie will definitely keep you awake

7/10
Author: nicolovvassil from Germany
27 February 2008

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

Hey,that wasn't bad at all!!Very good story, excellent crime movie plot, unexpected turnings: this film has all that a film needs in order to be entertaining.And of course a great ending, that is may be 70% of why one should watch the film.Don't read any reviews with spoilers!It woudn't make sense seeing the film after wards.It would be like watching "The sixth sense" and knowing from the beginning that Bruce Willis is dead.The best acting in the film came from Lena Olin (mom Beresford).The rest of the cast was average but the plot makes you ignore that.If you come across that one, see it!Seven stars because its still mid-quality Hollywood.

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