Wide Awake (1998 film)

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Wide Awake
Theatrical release poster
Directed byM. Night Shyamalan
Produced byCathy Konrad
Cary Woods
Written byM. Night Shyamalan
Music byEdmund Choi
CinematographyAdam Holender
Edited byAndrew Mondshein
Woods Entertainment
Distributed byMiramax Films
Release date
  • March 20, 1998 (1998-03-20)
Running time
88 minutes[1]
CountryUnited States
Budget$6 million[1]
Box office$282,175 [1]

Wide Awake is a 1998 American comedy-drama film written and directed by M. Night Shyamalan and produced by Cathy Konrad and Cary Woods. The film stars Denis Leary, Dana Delany, Joseph Cross and Rosie O'Donnell. Wide Awake also features Julia Stiles in one of her earliest roles as the main character's teenage sister, Neena.

Although it was made in 1995, the film was not released until 1998. The script was written in 1991. It was nominated for "Best Family Feature – Drama" and "Best Performance in a Feature Film – Leading Young Actor" at the 1999 Young Artist Awards. Shyamalan has described Wide Awake as a comedy that he hoped would also make people cry.


During his fifth grade year, ten-year-old Joshua A. Beal (Joseph Cross) begins a personal search to find answers about life and death — a journey triggered by the passing of his beloved grandfather (Robert Loggia).[2]

Josh attends Waldron Mercy Academy, a private Catholic boys' school. The adults in his world have not been able to convince him that his grandfather is in good hands, so he sets out on a personal mission to find God. In their varying ways he is guided on his metaphorical journey by his best friend Dave (Timothy Reifsnyder) and a Philadelphia Phillies-loving nun (Rosie O'Donnell) a teacher.[3]

Josh shows doubts about his religion as he questions if God truly exists, particularly when Dave is diagnosed with epilepsy and the moments as Josh experiences his first crush. As his academic year comes to an end, he finds his answer in an unexpected way.[4]




  • Heather Casler as Hope
  • Dan Lauria as Father Peters
  • Stefan Niemczyk as Frank Benton
  • Michael Pacienza as Freddie Waltman
  • Michael Shulman as Robert Brickman
  • Jaret Ross Barron as Dan
  • Jarrett Abello as John
  • Joseph Melito as Billy (Credited as Joseph Melito Jr.)
  • Peter A. Urban Jr. as Newman
  • Jahmal Curtis as Student
  • Michael Craig Bigwood as Little Boy
  • Gil Robbins as Cardinal Geary
  • Marc H. Glick as Father Sebastian
  • Robert K. O'Neill as Young Priest
  • Deborah Stern as Mrs. Waltman
  • Joey Perillo as Mr. Waltman
  • Jerry Walsh as Football Coach
  • Liam Mitchell as Gym Teacher
  • Charles Techman as Janitor
  • Antoine McLean as Wilson
  • Arleen Goman as Mrs. Pitman
  • Mets Suber as Race Starter


Wide Awake received mixed reviews from critics. Rotten Tomatoes gave the film a score of 45% based on reviews from 33 critics and reports a positive rating of 5.1 out of 10.[5]


  1. ^ a b c "Wide Awake (1998)". Box Office Mojo. Retrieved 2012-10-16.
  2. ^ Wide Awake Yahoo! Movies.
  3. ^ "WIDE AWAKE". rogerebert.com. Retrieved 2017-02-21.
  4. ^ Overview The New York Times.
  5. ^ "Wide Awake (1998)". Rotten Tomatoes. Fandango. Retrieved 2021-01-25.

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