Awake (2021 film)

Awake is a 2021 American science fiction thriller film, directed by Mark Raso, from a screenplay he wrote alongside Joseph Raso. It stars Gina Rodriguez, Jennifer Jason Leigh, Barry Pepper, Finn Jones, Shamier Anderson, Ariana Greenblatt, Frances Fisher, Elias Edraki, Lucius Hoyos and Gil Bellows.

Awake (2021 film) Official Poster.jpg
Official release poster
Directed byMark Raso
Screenplay by
  • Mark Raso
  • Joseph Raso
Story byGregory Poirier
Produced byPaul Schiff
CinematographyAlan Poon
Edited byMichele Conroy
Music byAntonio Pinto
Distributed byNetflix
Release date
  • June 9, 2021 (2021-06-09)
Running time
96 minutes
CountryUnited States

The film was released by Netflix on June 9, 2021.[1][2] It reached number one worldwide on the platform when it was released.[3]


Former U.S. Army medic and recovering addict, Jill Adams, works as a security guard at a local college where she steals drugs from the research lab to sell. After her shift, she picks up her children, Noah and Matilda, from their grandmother, Doris.

While driving, their car loses power and is hit by another car into a lake. Matilda drowns but is revived by a police officer who reveals that everything that uses electricity is malfunctioning. At the hospital, they learn that the coma patients have awoken. They return home, but Jill, Noah, and Doris are unable to sleep, and Noah says he sees shooting stars which Jill explains are satellites. On her way to work, Jill observes that the whole neighborhood is awake. There, the psychiatrist, Dr. Murphy, explains that people appear to be no longer able to fall asleep. Thus, they will soon suffer from the symptoms of sleep deprivation. The only known exception is an old woman, who they are studying, in the hopes of finding a cure for the condition. Jill remembers that Matilda can also fall asleep, and she rushes home to find her, only to discover that she's at church. The pastor gives a sermon about Matilda being a beacon of hope and people want to sacrifice her. Jill and Noah arrive to get her but Doris does not want to give up Matilda. The people panic and Jill, Matilda and Noah flee to the woods. They rush to a garage to find a car. Jill leaves the two outside while she enters the garage. Jill takes a car after hiding from two men and picks up Noah and Matilda.

They reach a library and Noah finds a map. Noah and Jill use the map to find their destination. While doing so, an escaped prisoner steals their car with Matilda in it. Other prisoners threaten Jill and Noah but they are saved by the man who stole their car, Dodge. They discover plane wreckage and Noah and Dodge look for items they might need. Jill teaches Matilda to drive because she's the only one who has energy to and to prepare her for the possibility of living alone when everyone else has died from sleep deprivation. While driving, they are attacked by people but manage to escape.

They reach the Hub. Dodge offers to stay but Jill gives him the car and tells him to leave. Jill splits up with her children and enters the Hub. She sneaks in disguised as a lab worker to find the other woman who can sleep. She finds her in very ill condition. The woman states she should have been dead months ago. Jill is convinced there is no cure so she begs the woman to raise Matilda. Jill is seen by Murphy and lies about wanting to be there to help. Jill pretends she doesn't know what happened to Brian and asks if there's a cure. Murphy replies that there's a drug that helps brain function but it damages the brain. Jill sees a flare and finds out that Dodge and her children have been found. The army confronts Jill and her children and Matilda tearfully admits she can sleep.

The next day, Matilda asks if she can help and the doctor responds that they need to find out what makes her special. She sees an ape who has been experimented on and sees that she doesn't fall asleep when given anesthetic gas. The doctor says that chimps were the only animals besides humans that can't sleep due to their biological closeness to us. They test the gas on Matilda and she falls asleep. Jill is handcuffed in a room where she experiences delirium.

Murphy asks Jill why her daughter can sleep. Jill begs Murphy to let Matilda go but she insists that humanity's survival depends on her. She explains that the sleep disorder was caused by the same solar flare that knocked out power affecting humans' (and chimps') brains. Dodge is taken as a guard and is given stimulants. The woman who can sleep goes into cardiac arrest and dies. Jill hallucinates that Noah is threatening to kill her. The real Noah is taken away to see if his brain is different than his sister's.

The soldiers then go insane and begin shooting everyone. Jill goes to rescue her daughter and the two run off together. Noah is hallucinating and cuts a wire, electrocuting himself. Jill and Matilda try resuscitating him using a defibrillator but are unsuccessful. Noah suddenly wakes up the next morning, saying that he was dreaming. Noah tells Jill that she was right about not wanting to go to The Hub and that he knows she loves them and needs her. Matilda realizes the reason that she and Noah could sleep was because they had both temporarily died. They drown Jill in a lake. They resuscitate her and she awakens just as the camera zooms in on her eye and cuts to the credits.


  • Gina Rodriguez as Jill, a former U.S. Army Medic and recovering drug addict who now works as a college security guard
  • Ariana Greenblatt as Matilda, Jill's young daughter
  • Frances Fisher as Doris, the paternal grandmother of Jill's children
  • Shamier Anderson as Dodge, a prisoner who joins forces with Jill and her children trying to find the cure
  • Finn Jones as Brian
  • Lucius Hoyos as Noah, Jill's son
  • Gil Bellows as Dr. Katz
  • Barry Pepper as Pastor
  • Jennifer Jason Leigh as Dr. Murphy, a psychiatrist who knows about the sleeplessness the survivors are suffering from
  • Sebastian Pigott as Clarence


In May 2019, it was announced Gina Rodriguez had joined the cast of the film, with Mark Raso directing from a screenplay by himself and Joseph Raso and with Netflix distributing.[4] In August 2019, Jennifer Jason Leigh, Barry Pepper, Finn Jones, Shamier Anderson, Ariana Greenblatt, Frances Fisher, Lucius Hoyos and Gil Bellows joined the cast of the film.[5]

Principal photography began in August 2019.[6][7]


On the review aggregator website Rotten Tomatoes, 27% of 49 critics' reviews of the film are positive, with an average rating of 4.5/10. The website's critics consensus reads: "A scattered and shallow disaster flick, Awake will have audiences reaching for the snooze button."[8] According to Metacritic, which assigned a weighted average score of 35 out of 100 based on 13 critics, the film received "generally unfavorable reviews".[9]

Nick Allen at The Playlist called it "abysmal" gave the film a "D." He wrote that the movie "proves it has no idea how to present its one original idea with visual thrills, and it foolishly underestimates how performance is key to horror like this."[10]


  1. ^ Fleming, Mike Jr. (January 12, 2021). "Netflix Unveils A 2021 Film Slate With Bigger Volume & Star Wattage; Scott Stuber On The Escalating Film Ambition". Deadline Hollywood. Archived from the original on January 12, 2021. Retrieved January 12, 2021.
  2. ^ Kroll, Justin (April 27, 2021). "Netflix Unveils Summer Movie Slate That Includes New 'Bob Ross' Documentary And Footage From Upcoming Films Like 'He's All That' And Kevin Hart's 'Fatherhoood'". Deadline Hollywood. Archived from the original on April 27, 2021. Retrieved April 27, 2021.
  3. ^ "TOP 10 on Netflix in the World on June 11, 2021". Flixpatrol. June 11, 2021. Retrieved 2021-09-08.
  4. ^ Fleming, Mike Jr. (May 30, 2019). "Gina Rodriguez To Star In Mark Raso-Directed 'Awake' For Netflix". Deadline Hollywood. Archived from the original on September 3, 2019. Retrieved September 29, 2019.
  5. ^ Kroll, Justin (August 21, 2019). "Gina Rodriguez's Sci-Fi Thriller 'Awake' Rounds Out Cast (EXCLUSIVE)". Variety. Archived from the original on September 13, 2019. Retrieved September 29, 2019.
  6. ^ Marc, Christopher (June 11, 2019). "EXCLUSIVE: Netflix Sci-Fi Flick 'Awake' Starring Gina Rodriguez Shoots August–September In Toronto and Adds 'Handmaid's Tale' Production Designer". HN Entertainment. Archived from the original on October 22, 2019. Retrieved September 29, 2019.
  7. ^ "Current Productions & News: Awake". 7 August 2017. Archived from the original on March 20, 2018. Retrieved September 29, 2019.
  8. ^ "Awake (2021)". Rotten Tomatoes. Fandango Media. Retrieved June 20, 2021.
  9. ^ "Awake (2021) Reviews". Metacritic. Red Ventures. Retrieved June 11, 2021.
  10. ^ "'Awake': The Apocalypse Has Rarely Been This Abysmal In Netflix's Lazy Thriller [Review]". Archived from the original on 2021-06-10. Retrieved 2021-06-10.

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