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‘Stay Awake’ explores the fallout for brothers after their mom overdoses : NPR


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The approaching-of-age drama Keep Awake takes its title from the efforts of two teenagers to get their mom safely to the hospital after an unintended overdose of prescription capsules.


Filmmakers have been crafting coming-of-age motion pictures for years about teenagers scuffling with peer strain or parental expectations or simply coming to phrases with grownup emotions. Critic Bob Mondello says the teenager brothers in “Keep Awake” have an additional hurdle, and it is a large one.

BOB MONDELLO, BYLINE: Rural Virginia. We first see Ethan as he is arriving house from highschool.


WYATT OLEFF: (As Ethan) Ma?

MONDELLO: He listens for a second, walks into the kitchen and shuts off the water that is operating within the sink. Then he heads to the bowling alley. And on the counter, he simply appears to be like at older brother Derek, who nearly appears to have been anticipating him and who geese into the supervisor’s workplace.


FIN ARGUS: (As Derek) Hey, Les. I acquired to chop out.

MONDELLO: They usually swing into motion. Mother’s overdosed on prescribed drugs once more, and so they know the drill – acquired to maintain her aware on the drive to the hospital.


ARGUS: (As Derek) Hey. Keep awake.

OLEFF: (As Ethan, singing) Nothing appears to suit.

ARGUS: (As Derek) Ma, take heed to us.

FIN ARGUS AND WYATT OLEFF: (As Derek and Ethan, singing) These raindrops are falling on my head. They hold falling.

ARGUS: (As Derek) That is simple. You recognize this. Ma?

ARGUS AND OLEFF: (As Derek and Ethan, singing) Raindrops are falling on my head.

ARGUS: (As Derek) Come on. What’s that one?

CHRISSY METZ: (As Michelle) Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Children.

ARGUS: (As Derek) There we go. All proper, subsequent one – come on. Let’s go.

OLEFF: (As Ethan, singing) Everyone’s speaking at me.

MONDELLO: Once they get to the emergency room, supporting Mother between them, they’re nonetheless on acquainted floor straight right into a room with Mother greeting the nurses, who barely lookup.


UNIDENTIFIED ACTOR: (As character) Hey, infants. We’ll get issues going right here. Hold unfastened.

MONDELLO: Their work now finished, the boys go to sleep on chairs of their mom’s hospital room, and the following morning Mother wakes and rises to cowl them together with her blanket. Then she takes them out for breakfast as if nothing a lot has occurred. And in a way, nothing a lot has. Ethan and Derek are used to parenting their mom, placing their lives on maintain to look after her, however they’re reaching an inflection level. Ethan’s been accepted at an Ivy League college on a full scholarship a number of states away.


METZ: (As Michelle) I am unable to consider it – my boy, the primary in our household to go to school. That is – I am simply so happy with you.

OLEFF: (As Ethan) Thanks.

METZ: (As Michelle) Have you learnt what you wish to examine? You going to be a lawyer, a physician?

OLEFF: (As Ethan) F*** medical doctors.

ARGUS: (As Derek) He needs to be an English main, Ma, ‘trigger the world wants extra unemployed writers.

OLEFF: (As Ethan) Not all English majors find yourself broke. I will be superb.

METZ: (As Michelle) And, honey, it is best to simply do what you wish to do.

MONDELLO: Simpler stated than finished. If Ethan leaves, Derek might be caught working on the bowling alley endlessly. He is made it clear he cannot see leaving their mother.


OLEFF: (As Ethan) We agreed, although, you understand? You go pursue appearing after I head to school, proper?

ARGUS: (As Derek) Yeah.

OLEFF: (As Ethan) She must strive rehab once more.

MONDELLO: Most movies about habit concentrate on the addict – the heroin-addled hero in “Trainspotting,” say, or the alcohol fueled barflies in “The Misplaced Weekend” and “Days Of Wine And Roses.” However “Keep Awake” concentrates on the collateral injury finished – to not mother however to her sons.


OLEFF: (As Ethan) We have to determine one thing out.

ARGUS: (As Derek) Like I have not been attempting for years.

OLEFF: (As Ethan) Then let me strive. If we do not determine this out, we’ll be caught right here.

MONDELLO: Author-director Jamie Sisley is increasing on a brief movie he made eight years in the past but in addition on his personal life. He stated in interviews that he and his brother had been this kind of caretaker and that the expertise helped him come to phrases with habit as an sickness.


METZ: (As Michelle) I’ve blown it; have not I? I imply, I am an terrible mom.

MONDELLO: That is extra her take than the movie’s, which spreads the blame – a physician who stored prescribing costly therapy facilities – and lets Chrissy Metz carry empathy to the character.


METZ: (As Michelle) I wish to be an excellent mother that goes to PTA conferences and makes good meals and provides nice relationship recommendation. However each single time that I see them, I am simply reminded that I’ve failed.

MONDELLO: Wyatt Oleff’s Ethan, desirous to unfold his wings, and Fin Argus as his laid-back brother are interesting figures, simple to think about in a extra standard coming-of-age flick or perhaps writing an unconventional one referred to as “Keep Awake.” I am Bob Mondello.


GREGORY ALAN ISAKOV: (Singing) I am a ghost of you. You are a ghost of me – a chicken’s-eye view of San Luis.

Copyright © 2023 NPR. All rights reserved. Go to our web site phrases of use and permissions pages at www.npr.org for additional data.

NPR transcripts are created on a rush deadline by an NPR contractor. This textual content might not be in its closing type and could also be up to date or revised sooner or later. Accuracy and availability might range. The authoritative report of NPR’s programming is the audio report.


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