Director: Jaime Sisley
2023, 94min., NR
Cast: Wyatt Oleff, Fin Argus, Chrissy Metz
Promising new writer/director Jaime Sisley’s first film opened at the Berlin International Film Festival, sparking an instant buzz and winning the German Art House Cinema award. Not all festival winners get a U.S. distributor, but luckily it can now be screened right here at Hartford’s Premiere Art Cinema! Stay Awake is based on Sisley’s own childhood, looking back with both sadness and humor on an all-too-typical story that is rampant in small-town America. Teenage brothers Ethan (Wyatt Oleff) and Derek (Fin Argus) deal with their mother Michelle’s relapsing addiction to opioids in different ways. Derek feels bound to his Mom (played by This Is Us star Chrissy Metz) and helping her survive, while Ethan makes plans to leave the situation and his town behind. There are no monsters in Stay Awake – except maybe the drug companies – just a family trying to hold on to their hope and humanity. “This is what art does, it opens people’s minds and hearts… and hopefully the fear goes away and then there’s healing.” – actor Chrissy Metz.