Once in a while you watch a film not expecting much and get deeply involved and moved emotionally. Stay Awake relies heavily on the emotional journey of the young sons and both Wyatt Oleff and Fin Argus are terrific. Rarely is as much conveyed by the looks the two leads give each other, as the dialogue, which is both measured and honest.
The film avoids melodrama and gets under the skin of the two protagonists, so we, the audience, feel the pain and love of dealing with a parent who is hopelessly addicted to prescription drugs.
We don't learn much about the mother's broken relationship or her descent into addiction, we assume it is similar to the other stories told by similar addicts at a NA meeting.
Although the film could point the blame at the pharmaceutical industry, it decides instead to focus on the devastation and constant worry it leaves on the family, not to mention the difficult life choices and sacrifices it causes.
Whilst it is usually the case that a film dealing with these choices might have scenes of siblings screaming at each other, Stay Awake focuses instead on the bond between the brothers who provide the emotional support needed to each other rather than from their mother, who tries to maintain a false aura of normality when everything around is falling to pieces.
A great script, music score and the use of school, hospital and work locations is used to great effect to underscore the cycle both brothers have become trapped in.
Loading video, please wait...
Select Watch Quality:
Tech specs720p.WEB 1080p.WEB
1 hr 33 min