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Awake (film)


Theatrical release poster
Directed by Joby Harold
Produced by Jason Kliot
John Penotti
Joana Vicente
Written by Joby Harold
Starring Hayden Christensen
Jessica Alba
Terrence Howard
Music by Boris Elkis
Distributed by The Weinstein Company
Release date(s) November 30, 2007
Country  United States
Language English
IMDb profile

Awake is a 2007 thriller/drama film written and directed by Joby Harold. It stars Hayden Christensen, Jessica Alba, Lena Olin, and Terrence Howard. The film was rated R by the MPAA for language, an intense disturbing situation, and brief drug use.

The film was released in the United States and Canada on November 30, 2007.

Additional recommended knowledge



Capital-investment firm chief Clay Beresford (Christensen) is in love with a woman named Sam (Alba) but is unwilling to tell his mother (Olin) of their relationship. We later find out this is due to Sam being his mother's personal assistant. Clay suffers from a heart condition that requires a heart transplant to be carried out by Dr. Jack Harper (Howard) who had previously saved his life and is now his good friend. However, during surgery Clay encounters "anesthetic awareness" and finds himself awake and aware, but paralyzed. To escape the pain, Clay has an out-of-body experience and uncovers a murder plot against him.


  • Hayden Christensen as Clay Beresford, Jr.
  • Jessica Alba as Samantha "Sam" Lockwood
  • Lena Olin as Lilith Beresford
  • Terrence Howard as Dr. Jack Harper
  • Fisher Stevens as Dr. Puttnam
  • Arliss Howard as Dr. Neyer
  • Christopher McDonald as Dr. Larry Lupin
  • Georgina Chapman as Nurse Penny Carver
  • Sam Robards as Clay Beresford, Sr.
  • Steven Hinkle as Young Clay


Portions of Awake were filmed on Fordham University's Lincoln Center campus (Lowenstein Hall is converted to look like a hospital; the statue of "St. Peter: Fisher of Men" is visible in the scene). In addition, many scenes, included Dr. Jack Harper's office, the cafeteria where Lilith commits suicide, and the elevator bank, were filmed in Bellevue Hospital.

Other media

Portions of the film's plot resemble the Alfred Hitchcock Presents episode "Breakdown" (1955), about a man (Joseph Cotten) who is about to be misdiagnosed dead because he is unresponsive on the medical examination table. The presumably dead man is saved from a premature burial when he manages to shed a tear, indicating that he is merely paralyzed.


The movie was not screened in advance for critics. As of December 12, 2007, it had a domestic box office gross of US$11,326,946 .[1]

On the review aggregator Rotten Tomatoes, 18% of 34 critics gave the film positive reviews.[2] On Metacritic, the film had an average score of 34 out of 100, based on 11 reviews.[3] Dennis Harvey of Variety said the movie "does have an attention-getting plot hook, but piles on too many narrative gimmicks to maintain suspense or credibility",[4] while Wesley Morris of The Boston Globe said, "The movie tries going for a laugh or two. It even makes stabs at irony. But since none of the story is suspenseful, remotely believable, or, at the very least, cheaply entertaining, who cares?"[5] Among its defenders were Roger Ebert of the Chicago Sun-Times, who said, "I went to a regular theater to see it Friday afternoon, knowing nothing about it except that the buzz was lethal, and sat there completely absorbed. ... I did not anticipate the surprises, did not anticipate them piling on after one another, got very involved in the gory surgical details, and found the supporting soap opera good as such things go".[6] Frank Lovece of Film Journal International appreciated it as, "A pulp-fiction suspense drama that doesn't imagine it's anything else ... delivering on its paperback promise and not gussying itself up with any pretensions to emotional or psychological insight".[7]

A group representing anesthesiologists in Ontario blasted the movie following its release for having its "science completely wrong". Ontario's Anesthesiologists, a section of the Ontario Medical Association, declared numerous scientific and procedural distortions in the film such as the presentation of improper anesthetic techniques. The group disputes the film's claim that anesthesia awareness occurred as frequently as one in every 700 patients, although this in turn is debated by anesthesia awareness advocate Carol Weihrer.[8][9]

See also


  • Official site
  • DVD Talk discusses the Awake release delay
This article is licensed under the GNU Free Documentation License. It uses material from the Wikipedia article "Awake_(film)". A list of authors is available in Wikipedia.
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