Wide Awake
Entertainment: +3
Acceptability: -1/2

Only rarely does a wonderfully profound and amusing film such as WIDE AWAKE come along. Considering its theme, a young boy searching for God, it could have been overly serious, preachy or possibly blasphemous, but it is none of these. Instead, it is a delightful film starring Joseph Cross as Joshua Beal, a bright fifth grade boy who attends a Catholic school. But his life is upset by the death of his granddad who was very close to him. His granddad has assured him that God will take care of him when he dies, but Josh isn't sure that God exists and will be there to care for his granddad. So, he launches on a mission to find and communicate with God. This leads to questioning his Catholic teacher (Rosie O'Donnell), and discussing it with his best friend, Dave O'Hara (Timothy Reifsnyder). He sings enthusiastically so God will hear him, and even briefly tries out other religions such as Judaism, Islam, and New Age. And his quest is intermingled with comical and touching moments he shares with the boys at his school and a special girl, Hope (Heather Casler), attending a nearby Catholic school. WIDE AWAKE may not be a smash hit at the box office, but is a real joy to watch.

Josh has real difficulties and doubts as he searches for evidence and signs of God's existence. He doesn't seem satisfied with the somewhat vague answers of his Catholic teachers, but his granddad, Dave O'Hara and Hope encourage him to never give up. His granddad says that the wonder of nature convinces him that God exists, but that Josh will have to find his own evidence. Dave is convinced that Josh showing up when he needs medical help is a miracle from God. And the film implies that Josh miraculously sees a young boy in the school halls who helps him. Josh also makes friends with two boys he doesn't like when he is convicted by his conscience. The only element which seriously mars WIDE AWAKE are several s-words spoken by young boys. Otherwise, the film is an inspiring, moving story about love and compassion and an affirmation of the existence of God.

Preview Reviewer: John Evans
Distributor: Miramax Films

Crude Language: Once - Mild
Obscene Language: Several (6) times (all s-words)
Profanity: None
Violence: Once - Mild (Nun pulls boy by his ear)
Sexual Intercourse: None
Nudity: Near nudity - Once(woman on magazine cover in revealing swim suit)
Homosexual Conduct: None
Sexually Suggestive Action/Dialog: Few times - (references to near nude woman on magazine cover; boy makes indirect remarks about physical attraction to girl)
Drug Abuse: None
Other: Comical references to passing gas; nun says must be baptized to be saved; boy tries to cheat on test.
Running Time: 89 minutes
Intended Audience: 10 years and older

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