Stay Awake

Stay Awake

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Competition Feature

Stay Awake

Directed by: Jamie Sisley

USA, 2022, 94m

Florida Premiere

Adapted from the superb short film of the same name (FFF 2015) and winner of two awards at the 2022 Berlin International Film Festival, Stay Awake thrusts us into the world of Ethan and Derek, two brothers who are juggling teenage life while tending to their mother’s debilitating prescription drug addiction. This compact but powerful slice-of-life drama, bolstered by bleakly beautiful cinematography, manages to avoid the usual cliches that bog down a stereotypical addiction narrative. Rarely do films in this genre come from the perspective of the caregivers, nor do they typically provide a sympathetic portrayal of an addict. Treating addiction as a disease, the screenplay never hits a false note as it focuses on the human side of an afflicted Virginia family of three. Anchored by a superb performance from Chrissy Metz (TV’s This Is Us) as the mother and subtly agonized turns by Wyatt Olef and Finn Argus, writer-director Jamie Sisley has crafted a melancholic, moving, and ultimately hopeful tribute to the emotional casualties suffered by the loved ones of addicts.