The Awakening (15)

Film

Rebecca Hall in The Awakening

Time Out rating:

<strong>Rating: </strong><span class='lf-avgRating'>2</span>/5

User ratings:

<strong>Rating: </strong><span class='lf-avgRating'>4</span>/5
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Time Out says

Mon Oct 3 2011

There is more than a whiff of stuffy, ‘Downton Abbey’-style costume drama about Nick Murphy’s old-fashioned ghost story – a frustrating ‘film of two halves’ whose themes also echo more contemporary supernatural thrillers such as ‘The Others’ or ‘The Orphanage’. It’s 1921 and England is still reeling from the one and a half million lives taken by World War I and a subsequent flu epidemic. Florence Cathcart (Rebecca Hall), an obsessive debunker of those spiritualists who exploit bereaved relatives by staging fake seances, is invited to an isolated boarding school by sceptical schoolmaster Robert Mallory (Dominic West). A boy has died in mysterious circumstances, and several frightened pupils – including lonely, sensitive Tom (Isaac Hempstead-Wright) – claim to have seen a ghostly child at night. Using scientific reason and sophisticated photographic equipment, no-nonsense, trouser-wearing Florence is determined to find a more rational explanation.

The atmospheric storyline starts well, taking care to establish characters and events from their past that continue to ‘haunt’ and debilitate them. West’s grouchy schoolmaster is an ex-soldier wracked by survivor’s guilt, while Florence’s anti-spiritualist zeal is fed by her own shame at having abandoned a lover who was later killed at the front. However, when it is revealed that Florence was summoned at the behest of the school’s solicitous matron, Maud (Imelda Staunton), the script by Murphy and Stephen Volk shifts its focus, and our suspension of disbelief immediately goes Awol. A ridiculous revelation and a redundant sexual assault undercut all good sense, as fierce rationality gives way to absurd contrivance and hysteria.
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Release details

Rated:

15

UK release:

Fri Nov 11, 2011

Duration:

106 mins

Users say

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<strong>Rating: </strong><span class='lf-avgRating'>0</span>/5

Average User Rating

3.4 / 5

Rating Breakdown

  • 5 star:1
  • 4 star:4
  • 3 star:3
  • 2 star:0
  • 1 star:0
LiveReviews|9
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blib

Highly enjoyable ghostly nonsense, atmospheric. couple of nice little twists. Ghost stories seldom make complete sense (how can they?)

Mark

I thought this was an excellent film. Hugely atmospheric, great acting from the main characters. My 'film of the year'!

Mark

I thought this was an excellent film. Hugely atmospheric, great acting from the main characters. My 'film of the year'!

critique

Flawed but watchable English period ghost story. As Nigel Floyd indicates, there are storng echos of The Orphanage and The Others but don`t expect this to be in the same class.

scrumpyjack

2* is hugely harsh. OK, it's no Devils Backbone but chills reasonably and looks suitably gloomy without looking dull like so many films lately. Enjoyed from start to finish. 6/10

jaycee

Very well done film.Beautifully shot and full of atmosphere,with great acting. The end reveal is too elaborate, but the final scene is nicely ambiguous - who is alive and who dead?

jaycee

Very well done film.Brautifully shot and full of atmosphere,with greatacying. The end reveal is too elaborate, but the final scene is nicely ambiguous - who is alive and who dead?

David Wilson

Saw a preview, don't really agree with this review - thought it was a great film. Once of the best looking and sounding films i've seen for ages - Very atmospheric, Rebecca Hall was ace. Ok maybe one twist too many but nice to see a British film that aims high for once.. Go see!