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Parents' Guide to


By Cynthia Fuchs, Common Sense Media Reviewer

age 15+

Silly surgery thriller is bloody, convoluted.

Movie R 2007 84 minutes
Awake Poster Image

A Lot or a Little?

What you will—and won't—find in this movie.

Community Reviews

age 16+

Based on 3 parent reviews

age 15+

Not suitable for people under 15.

age 16+

Gives you a graphic look at the potential yet grisly complication known as Anesthesia Awareness.

Awake is a film that mostly showcases you the rare yet deadly risk of anesthesia awareness, which the patient is still awake throughout surgery but completely paralyzed, and is unable to speak or move. There are some very intense, disturbing situations when the main characters starts to unfortunately experience "anesthesia awareness" when he's about to have a heart transplant procedure, and you actually experience him suffering both physically and mentally throughout, which is very hard to watch. The surgical procedure itself is VERY graphic and cringing, showing the cardiac surgeon cut open the chest, remove the heart and implant the new one, with it hardly turning away from the screen. It's appropriate for people at least 17 and over due to the graphic surgical procedures; a man suffering in agony from anesthesia awareness, and the strong language throughout (multiple uses of f**k).

This title has:

Too much violence
Too much swearing

Is It Any Good?

Our review:
Parents say (3 ):
Kids say (7 ):

The gimmicky premise of Awake is the fact that one in 700 patients experience what's called "anesthetic awareness" during surgery. They feel every cut, every rib crack, and every stitch during surgery, but are paralyzed and unable to communicate the agony. Ouch. But this pain, uncomfortable as it is, has nothing on the pain of the movie's increasingly convoluted and contrived plot.

First of all, Clay's unfortunate condition is discovered by an out-of-body version of himself, who proceeds to run around the hospital in scrubs (why is never explained, as he lies on the table in a hospital gown), yelling at various relatives and doctors in an effort to get them to see that he's "awake." What's more, there are so many betrayals by so many characters that it's hard to care much about what happens to them -- unless you worry about the careers of folks like Howard and Olin, who outclass this silly material in every imaginable way. By the time Lilith has to explain to Sam how she can "feel" something is wrong in the operating room ("He's not just my son: we grew up together"), you've got the feeling that something is indeed very wrong -- with this film.

Movie Details

  • In theaters: November 30, 2007
  • On DVD or streaming: March 3, 2008
  • Cast: Hayden Christensen , Jessica Alba , Lena Olin
  • Director: Joby Harold
  • Inclusion Information: Latino actors, Female actors
  • Studio: Weinstein Co.
  • Genre: Thriller
  • Run time: 84 minutes
  • MPAA rating: R
  • MPAA explanation: language, an intense disturbing situation, and brief drug use.
  • Last updated: February 6, 2023

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