6.6/10
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107 user 44 critic

Waking the Dead (2000)

A congressional candidate questions his sanity after seeing the love of his life, presumed dead, suddenly emerge.

Director:

Keith Gordon

Writers:

Scott Spencer (novel), Robert Dillon (screenplay)

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1 nomination. See more awards »

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
Billy Crudup ... Fielding Pierce
Bill Haugland Bill Haugland ... TV Newsman at Bombing
Nelson Landrieu Nelson Landrieu ... Francisco Higgens
Ivonne Coll ... Gisela Higgens
Jennifer Connelly ... Sarah Williams
Maxine Guess ... Danny's Receptionist
Paul Hipp ... Danny Pierce
Hal Holbrook ... Isaac Green
Lawrence Dane ... Governor Kinosis
Ed Harris ... Jerry Charmichael
Robert Harding Robert Harding ... TV Newsman #2
Janet McTeer ... Caroline Pierce
Molly Parker ... Juliet Beck
Larry Marshall ... Angelo Bertelli
Don Jordan ... Minister with Bertelli on TV
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Storyline

Fielding Pierce lives the life of an aspiring politician - in 1972 he's serving in the Coast Guard (trying to avoid Vietnam in the most honorable way), and by 1973 he has entered law school. Along the way he falls in love with Sarah, a fiercely idealistic woman who devotes her life to helping others - unfortunately she's killed in an explosion while assisting members of the Chilean resistance. Nine years later, in the middle of a congressional election, Fielding is suddenly flooded with thoughts and visions of his lost love. Written by ccampbell

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis

Taglines:

Sometimes love has a life of its own.


Motion Picture Rating (MPAA)

Rated R for sexuality and language | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

View content advisory »
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Details

Country:

USA | Canada

Language:

English

Release Date:

24 March 2000 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Amor Maior que a Vida See more »

Filming Locations:

Montréal, Québec, Canada

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Box Office

Budget:

$8,500,000 (estimated)

Opening Weekend USA:

$150,422, 26 March 2000, Limited Release

Gross USA:

$327,418, 9 April 2000
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Dolby Digital

Color:

Color

Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
See full technical specs »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

Jennifer Connelly also portrayed a character named Sarah Williams in Labyrinth (1986), which was released 13 prior to Waking the Dead (2000). See more »

Goofs

23 January 1983, the election day, was on a Sunday. See more »

Quotes

Sarah Williams: You can't be everything to me.
Fielding Pierce: I want to be.
Sarah Williams: Oh, dear. I love that you said that.
See more »

Alternate Versions

In the U.S. DVD release, the passionate sex scene between Fielding and Sarah is more graphic, and contains more nudity. See more »

Connections

References Labyrinth (1986) See more »

Soundtracks

Sunset Serenade
Written by Manny Albam
Courtesy of Associated Production Music
See more »

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User Reviews

 
2000's hidden gem is also its Crown Jewel
30 March 2001 | by mercury-26See all my reviews

Never mind `Traffic'. Forget `Gladiator'. To find 2000's finest, most nail-on-the-head perfect film, you'll need to look a little deeper. A small film that only enjoyed limited release in theaters and isn't getting much attention on DVD either, is Keith Gordon's latest, `Waking the Dead'.

Back in 1992, there was another under-appreciated independent film called `A Midnight Clear' that had the misfortune of being released alongside the likes of `Unforgiven' and `Last of the Mohicans'. For reasons I can't fathom, this brilliant film seemingly did nothing to help Gordon's career. His budgets stayed small, but he continued looking for the most daring and fascinating material. In 1996, he released `Mother Night', another war-themed film, only this time set in the aftermath of WWII.

With `Waking the Dead', Gordon outdoes himself. He casts Billy Crudup as Fielding Pierce, an ambitious Coast Guard officer who'd like to be president--and he means it. His world is turned upside-down when he meets Sarah Williams (Jennifer Connelly), who just wants to feel like she `lives on the planet'. Fielding and Sarah could not be more different, yet they cannot live without each other. Each is the antithesis of the other, which dooms their relationship and intensifies their love at the same time.

The film begins with the announcement of Sarah's death, and continues pulling you back and forth in time. Employing this storytelling technique and maintaining the momentum of the story is a difficult task. While we see Fielding wrestle with her memory, we're shown the powerful connection these two had during her life.

What's more, Fielding begins to see visions of her. Some of these visions are so real, he begins to believe she's alive. The hauntings come just as he begins campaigning for the U.S. House. It begins to affect his life and threatens his campaign. The question of whether Sarah is really alive is the dramatic carrot Gordon dangles in front of us. It's then we realize that she was his conscience in life and remains so in death. Gordon pours it on right until the very last frame. He gets the best performance of Connelly's career out of her, plus a jaw-dropping performance out of Crudup that's worthy of an Oscar. Whoever was in charge of plugging this film for awards nominations must have fallen asleep at the wheel (though I see it did win an Independent Spirit award for its script).

That this film or others in the same situation get no recognition is definitely for the best. The more popular a film becomes, the more idiots that come out of the woodwork to second-guess it. So best to leave it to be discovered by those willing to seek it out. It is 2000's crown jewel.

Grade: A (but only because there isn't a higher grade)


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