Loved ones, addiction and the struggle to Stay Awake

(courtesy IMDb)

In the debut feature, STAY AWAKE, by writer-director Jamie Sisley, brothers Ethan (Wyatt Oleff) and Derek (Fin Argus) try their best to navigate the pressures of teenage life while tending to their mother’s (Chrissy Metz) debilitating prescription drug addiction. Based on the filmmaker’s adolescence in small-town America, Stay Awake is a personal exploration of the roller coaster ride that families go on while trying to help their loved ones battle a disease that affects millions every day. (courtesy YouTube

A 91% rating on Rotten Tomatoes all but confirms that Stay Awake is every bit as good as the trailer promises.

Taking a different perspective to most films on addiction by focuses on those the loved ones impacted by the actions of the addict, Stay Awake has been hailed as “An honest, wise and genuinely heartfelt slice-of-life with just the right balance of humor and heartbreak” (Avi Offer, NYC Movie Guru) and as a story that “walks the tough tightrope between facile sympathy and over-romanticisation.” (Shubhra Gupta, The Indian Express)

Quite whether it will reach Australia is another matter entirely but we can only it does because quietly thoughtful films that pack a powerful emotional punch are always welcome, giving us the time to get to know the characters, to live fully within the narrative and to fully appreciate how close to the grim realities they affectingly hew.

Stay Awake premiered at the Berlin International Film Festival in February and has been shown at a number of film festivals since; it is currently in limited released in U.S.

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