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Wakefield (2016)

R | | Drama | 19 May 2017 (USA)
2:01 | Trailer

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A man's nervous breakdown causes him to leave his wife and live in his attic for several months.



(short story), (short story) | 1 more credit »
1,952 ( 623)
1 win & 1 nomination. See more awards »





Credited cast:
Diana Wakefield
Dirk Morrison
Ben Jacobs
Dr. Sondervan
Homeless Man


Howard has a loving wife (Garner), two daughters, a prestigious job as a Manhattan lawyer, and a comfortable home in the suburbs. But inwardly he's suffocating, and eventually he snaps and goes into hiding in his garage attic leaving his family to wonder what happened to him. He observes them from his window - an outsider spying in on his own life - as the days of exile stretch into months. Is it possible to go back to the way things were? Written by JAP

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


What would your life be like without you?



Motion Picture Rating (MPAA)

Rated R for some sexual material and language | See all certifications »


Official Sites:



Release Date:

19 May 2017 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

A Vida em Espera  »


Box Office

Opening Weekend USA:

$14,120, 19 May 2017, Limited Release

Gross USA:

$259,412, 14 July 2017
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

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Technical Specs



Aspect Ratio:

2.35 : 1
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Did You Know?


Babs is also the name of the character portrayed by Beverly D'Angelo in the series and movie Entourage. See more »


The train Wakefield boarded from Grand Central was a diesel hauled train. A power outage might have affected the train's motion (electric trains stalled ahead etc), but it would not have affected the lights in the train given that the power comes from the diesel locomotive. See more »


Howard Wakefield: People will say that I left my wife and I suppose, as a factual matter, I did, but where was the intentionality? I had no thought of deserting her.
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User Reviews

"I never left my family. I just left myself."
27 May 2017 | by See all my reviews

"Wakefield" (2016 release; 106 min.) brings the story of Howard Wakefield. As the movie opens, we see Wakefield taking the train from Grand Central back to his house in the suburbs. The area is hit by by power outage and he ends up having to walk the last part. Along the way, we get to understand that he is quite unhappy with his life as a high stakes litigator and a marriage that is less than satisfying. When he gets home, on a whim he ends up spending the night in the attic room over the garage, and before we know it, he decides to go off the grid entirely. He ends up observing as his wife is frantically looking for him. At this point we're not even 15 min. into the movie. What will become of Howard? Will he resurface? To tell you more of the plot would spoil your viewing experience, you'll just have to see for yourself how it all plays out.

Couple of comments: this is the latest film from writer-director Robin Swicord (best known for "Memoirs of a Geisha" a few years ago). Here she brings E.L> Doctorow's short story to the big screen. I have not read the short story, so I can't comment how close the movie adaptation sticks to the original story. Regardless, the key concept (a guy goes "off the grid", and then some) is an interesting one. Why didn't he simple tell his wife he wanted a divorce? The movie stands or falls entirely on the acting performance by Bryan Cranston in the role of Howard Wakefield. He is in virtually every frame of the movie, and provides the voice over as he shares his thoughts with us as to what is playing out. Cranston is nothing short of brilliant, in my humble opinion. Jennifer Garner plays his wife Diana, and has a very delicate task as we watch her (through Howard's eyes) from across the house but we rarely hear her talking (Cranston instead provides the "play-by-play"). The fist part of the movie is outright hilarious and I found myself laughing out loud a lot (as did the rest of the theater audience)> The second half of the movie becomes a lot more introspective, as Wakefield deals with loneliness and realizes the long-term consequences of what he has done/is doing, in particular thinking of his 13 yr. old twin daughters. Observes Wakefield: "I never left my family. I just left myself." And check out the final moments of the movie... (mustn't say more!).

"Wakefield premiered last Fall at several film festival to good critical acclaim but for whatever reason has not gotten a major push. It was released in a handful of theaters just last week, and I caught it at the Landmark E Street Cinema in Washington DC. The Friday evening screening where I saw it at was attended nicely. If you are in the mood for a family and relationship drama that is off- center and features a brilliant acting performance, by all means check this out, be it in the theater, on Amazon Instant Video or eventually on DVD/Blu-ray.

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