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Wide Awake (2006)

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Reviews: 12 user | 8 critic

A filmmaker documents his bout with insomnia.



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Title: Wide Awake (2006)

Wide Awake (2006) on IMDb 6.7/10

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Credited cast:
William C. Dement ...
Himself (as Dr. William C. Dement)


A filmmaker documents his bout with insomnia.

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Release Date:

20 January 2006 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Wide Awake  »

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A Movie To Sleep By
14 January 2008 | by (Toronto, Ontario, Canada) – See all my reviews

See Alan Berliner talk to the camera, over and over again. See him talk about sleeplessness, see him visit specialists, see him toss and turn in bed, see him talk to shrinks, see him annoy his mother and sister who are fed up with his relentless obsession over insomnia.

Then listen to the film-length parade of clichés, the sweeping, breathtaking banality of blaring truisms and hackneyed phrases, much of them delivered by sleep 'experts': 'sleep is vital'; 'babies are better with sleep'; 'the amount of sleep you need is probably genetically pre-determined'; 'the more rest and relaxation we get, the greater our mental efficiency'; 'each person's biological clock is different'; 'yawning is associated with drowsiness'; 'if people haven't had enough sleep they'll sit there and be bored'. This kind of profundity is hard to handle all at once.

If a documentary can be described as something that explores a subject and leaves us moved by it, affected by it, educated or instructed by it, or disturbed by it, then this film is NOT a documentary. I'm not sure what it is, but it looks suspiciously like an embarrassing exercise in self-indulgence.

Alan Berliner is so wrapped up in himself that he films his new-born son Eli and waits breathlessly, not in excitement at the miracle of his birth, but for the moment when L'il Eli will yawn for the first time. He holds a camera on him and the yawn comes after five minutes of life. Berliner, the relentless crusader, is encouraged that his son may not be cursed as he was, a sleep-deprived schlub who hears someone tell him (on film, in 1989) that 'as long as I've known you, you've always been tired.' Even 20 years ago, this guy was recording himself for posterity, hoping, perhaps, to one day say something unusual or interesting.

There's something wonderfully ironic about this flick. I found myself wanting to go to sleep at approximately the half-way mark.

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