In films, whenever our main characters are stuck in an ever-repeating pattern, something has to come along and break it up. This something is handsome Joe (James Denton), who’s deceased father is in Molly’s funeral home. There’s a real attraction there, and even better, Sam likes him. But love does not come easy.
The second act is Sam and Ivy attempting to get Molly out of the house and over her fears as Joe has asked Molly out on a date, and she reluctantly agreed. Molly goes through agoraphobia boot camp, but then the dead husband Peter-hallucination is there to stop her in her tracks. “Cmon, let’s have some fun right now!” he begs. Will Molly get over her dead husband? Will Sam get her mother back to normal? Will Ivy get some rest and enjoy her senior years? What about handsome Frank?
“…succeeds in the dark moments as Molly is confronted with her grief and attachment issues…”
Wake is one of those films that skates the line of good and cheesy. Fortunately, it’s good when it needs to be, once you get through the cheese. This is the weird part, the light comedic moments of the film come across as incredibly cheesy. When Ivy runs off with her friends to buy lottery tickets, Molly explains that she’s more likely to get hit by lightning than winning the lotto. The story is full of scripted light-hearted, family interactions, that feel…scripted. At times, they pull you out of the film, when these moments are meant to create a connection with you and the characters.
Fortunately, where Wake succeeds is in the dark moments as Molly is confronted with her grief and attachment issues…all the way in the third act. Dark turns (dramatically) are weirdly enjoyable to watch, particularly with Ivy’s character and Peter’s “ghost.” What I appreciate in Carey Crim’s script is how it gets real and authentic when Molly is finally forced to face the issues that have paralyzed her for years. In the third act, I kept thinking to myself that this odd character arc of Molly really works and everyone involved is taking bold storytelling risks, which is refreshing in family dramas.
The cast gives especially strong performances. Myndy Crist is excellent as the lead tracking perfectly with Molly’s pain and self-discovery. She strangely reminds me of Felicity Huffman as she cheats with Desperate Housewives co-star James Denton, but then it’s not her…ugh, I ramble.
Wake is a wonderful family drama about moving on from grief. It takes several bold storytelling choices that you don’t always see on Lifetime.