There is a complicated connection between the two brothers in “Staying Awake”. It’s not that the film goes unnecessary ways to justify their actions. But the story requires something much more secret than one could imagine with such a natural union. It is a random group of feelings that have nothing to do with traditions or social laws. It is much more organic and reasonable. A secret that brothers Ethan and Derek don’t dare to talk about.
In this courageous approach of screenwriter and director Jamie Sisley, “Awake” appears. As an autobiographical and beautiful depiction of growth and maturity under harsh circumstances, but also as a convincing homage to the other side of addiction. What is rarely talked about is a brutal nursing situation. Staying awake is common when necessary, but it dares to represent the extreme side of the conversation. One is led by three great actors and a director who knows exactly where to strive to convey his point of view.
Ethan (Wyatt Oleff) and Derek (Fin Argus) are two brothers who live in a small town. Each of them will have to make ends meet, since their family is not traditional. It seems that your life is changing every day: you need to pick up your mother, who suffers from opioid addiction. They are trying to prevent you from falling asleep while you are going to the hospital or wherever they want to take you.
At the moment, her dreams are just dreaming. They focus solely on helping their mother survive things she can’t control. Ethan wants to go to college and Derek wants to play, but they just can’t do it, as they fall into a tragic loop that starts over and over again.
Sisley describes his own experiences in a scenario that seems stressful and confident to the outcome of the story. It’s almost predictable where the movie will go.
However, this has nothing to do with the essence of the plot. On average, “staying awake” is not suitable for depicting long emotional conversations. It is more about the reactionary nature of a man who has freed himself from the heavy chain imposed by society (and the boys themselves): they, first of all, need to take care of their mother.
“Staying awake” is tied to a repetitive but planned style. Comments are made and claims are asserted. Each time with an awakening tone. Until it works and a really emotional opposite is heard. Perhaps, when the third act passes to the final stage, you will not agree with what some characters are doing, but in this film you should not question much of what is going on.
The relationship between Ethan, Derek and Michelle is strange and embarrassing. It is a love relationship between mother and son. But it has also moved to another level of expectations and confidence. The connection between the mother and her sons is severely damaged and cannot be restored. And yet they stay there every day. And they go to extreme measures to save their mother. Is there a limit and what happens when it is reached?
The three presenters perform according to a clear scenario. Chrissy Metz, along with Oleff and Argus, and three of them manage to gain authenticity. Personally, I appreciate it most when Ethan and Derek decide to relax and live their noisy life in peace or talk about their goals. These conversations take place in the dark, where the secrets of love and maturity do not require shame. It is believed that you need to grow and be yourself. They can’t because something is holding them back. Countering this is the last resource that you are afraid to face.