The Awakening

"Good"

The Awakening Review


A nifty twist on the standard ghost story, this British period drama starts extremely well and then slips into overwrought melodrama. And while the plot feels a little too gimmicky, at least it's complex enough to hold our interest.

In 1921 England, Florence (Hall) makes a fortune debunking fake psychics who claim to talk to the ghosts of Brits who died from war and flu over the previous decade. Her latest challenge is to solve a mystery at a private school in Cumbria, working with teacher Robert (West) and matron Maud (Staunton).

Rumour has it that the ghost of a schoolboy haunts the house, so Florence sets out to find out what's really going on. But she has her scepticism shaken to the core by some genuinely bizarre events.

Like a cross between The Others and The Sixth Sense, the film blurs supernatural lines to leave us wondering what's real and what's imagined.

Everything in this house creaks, moves or goes bump in the night and, like the characters, we see constant glimpses of a ghostly boy in the corners. The filmmakers build atmosphere with a creepy handyman (Mawle), a wheezy literature teacher (Dooley), a barking reverend (Shrapnel) and a lonely student (Wright) left in behind after the other boys go home for the weekend.

As a result, the film is packed with goose-bump moments orchestrated to perfection by director Murphy. Yet while this makes us jumpy throughout the story, it's not enough to make us accept the increasingly goofy plot, which gets less and less clear as it progresses. Figuring out what's happening is virtually impossible and even in the end, after everything is explained, we're left with a few questions.

Hall is terrific, charging the film with realistic humour and cynicism that adds a nice counterpoint to the lushly gothic visuals. Her scenes with West are packed with sexual tension, even if we never believe they're falling in love.

And Staunton, of course, fills her role with all kinds of personality and innuendo. In the end, it's up to the effects and editing to bring everything together. And while it's quite entertaining, it's never original enough to provide a satisfying jolt.



The Awakening

Facts and Figures

Run time: 107 mins

In Theaters: Friday 11th November 2011

Box Office USA: $0.2M

Box Office Worldwide: $175.1 thousand

Budget: $4.8M

Distributed by: Cohen Media Group

Production compaines: Studio Canal, BBC Films, Lipsync Productions, Creative Scotland, Origin Pictures

Reviews

Contactmusic.com: 3 / 5

Rotten Tomatoes: 61%
Fresh: 40 Rotten: 26

IMDB: 6.5 / 10

Cast & Crew

Director: Nick Murphy

Producer: , Julia Stannard, David M Thompson

Starring: as Florence Cathcart, as Robert Mallory, as Maud Hill, Isaac Hempstead Wright as Tom, Lucy Cohu as Constance Strickland, as Reverend Hugh Purslow, as Harriet Cathcart, as Alexander Cathcart, Alfie Field as Victor Parry, Tilly Vosburgh as Vera Flood, Anastasia Hille as Katherine Vandermeer, Andrew Havill as George Vandermeer, as Edward Judd, Neil Broome as School Master, Shaun Dooley as Malcolm McNair

Contactmusic


Links



Advertisement

Contactmusic 2017 Exclusive

New Movies

Life Movie Review

Life Movie Review

Like a mash-up of Alien and Gravity, this ripping sci-fi horror movie is very effective...

The Lost City of Z Movie Review

The Lost City of Z Movie Review

Based on a true story, it's the historical aspect of these events that holds the...

Chips Movie Review

Chips Movie Review

It's clear from the very start that this movie has little to do with the...

Beauty And The Beast Movie Review

Beauty And The Beast Movie Review

This remake of Disney's 1991 classic is remarkably faithful, using present-day digital animation effects to...

The Salesman Movie Review

The Salesman Movie Review

Iranian filmmaker Asghar Farhadi won his second Oscar with this astute drama which, like 2011's...

Get Out Movie Review

Get Out Movie Review

Leave it to a comedian to make one of the scariest movies in recent memory....

Personal Shopper Movie Review

Personal Shopper Movie Review

After winning a series of major awards for her role in Olivier Assayas' Clouds of...

Advertisement
Certain Women Movie Review

Certain Women Movie Review

In films like Wendy and Lucy and Meek's Cutoff, writer-director Kelly Reichardt has told sharply...

Kong: Skull Island Movie Review

Kong: Skull Island Movie Review

After the success of 2014's Godzilla reboot, the Warner Bros monsters get their own franchise,...

Viceroy's House Movie Review

Viceroy's House Movie Review

Filmmaker Gurinder Chada (Bend It Like Beckham) draws on her own family history to explore...

Trespass Against Us Movie Review

Trespass Against Us Movie Review

With an extra dose of attitude and energy, this Irish comedy-drama hits us like a...

Logan Movie Review

Logan Movie Review

Hugh Jackman returns to his signature role one last time (so he says), reuniting with...

Patriots Day Movie Review

Patriots Day Movie Review

The third time's a charm for Mark Wahlberg and director Peter Berg, who previously teamed...

A Cure for Wellness Movie Review

A Cure for Wellness Movie Review

It's no surprise that this creep-out horror thriller is packed with whizzy visual invention, since...

Advertisement
Artists
Actors
    Filmmakers
      Artists
      Bands
        Musicians
          Artists
          Celebrities
             
              Artists
              Interviews
                musicians & bands in the news
                  actors & filmmakers in the news
                    celebrities in the news

                      Go Back in Time using our News archive to see what happened on a particular day in the past.