“A Wake” reminds us that life can be painful and full of emotional struggles. The themes raised in the plot may not be innovative but deserving to be related to us again.
My first reaction on reading the brief PR synopsis provided the me by distributor Breaking Glass Pictures was due to two Disney actors involved it was going to be puerile and squeaky clean but knowing the films that Breaking Glass Pictures releases that didn’t make sense. Breaking Glass specializes in creative “indie” releases some of which are in the LGBTQ genre. In fact, the synopsis refers to “A Wake” as an “LGBTQ Family Drama” of which it is but the topics of suicide, religious hypocrisy, social media bullying and dysfunctional families are subplots within the film that are linked to an LGBTQ film.
In a sense the film pays attention to a posthumous coming out of homosexual Mitch (Noah Urrea). Mitch dies from a suicidal overdose after being bullied and “exposed” on social media. We have seen the damage of social media bullying in Canada as the act of cruel cowards and to bring this topic into the public eye never hurts.
And “coming out” can be painful and socially humiliating for a conservative religious family with the end result “of a cover-up” sanctioned by the church which could have been the case in “A Wake”. It can also be self liberating and accepted with love and compassion which some of Mitch’s family exhibit. But Mitch couldn’t bring himself to come out. And that is worrisome in itself but common I am sure.
For fear of ruining the plot I’ll refrain from dealing with it further.
The technical production is flawless. The acting kudos belong to Mason/Mitch (Noah Urrea), Molly (Sofia Rosinsky), Jameson (Kolton Stewart), Megan (Megan Trout) and bickering but loveable grandma Loretta (Bettina Devin). Pastor Bob (Scott Cox) and his scantily dressed wife Sheila (Tiffany Heggebo) are portrayed as hypocritical anti-LGBTQ characters almost comical and so easy to dislike! The rest of the acting is passable however during a rather explosive wake the acting of all is raised several notches. And what a scene of a family implosion you must have seen in your life with the death of a family member. The film delivers on this subplot so very well.
So this is no Disney film but it looks like it is heading that way for the first thirty minutes but after it takes a dark twist that makes it worth watching.
You can see the trailer here https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_emfxasHBV8
This American film is directed by Scott Boswell and will be available August 31 on iTunes/Apple TV, Amazon, Google Play, Vudu and through local and satellite providers as well as on DVD.