If you’re looking for a distraction from the real world’s ongoing global catastrophe, a new film has just arrived on Netflix that introduces a whole new (fictional) disaster – a mysterious event that has caused the world’s population to lose the ability to sleep.
Awake stars Gina Rodriguez and Jennifer Jason Leigh among its main cast and follows a mother as she seeks to protect her daughter, who happens to be one of the only remaining people who has regained the ability to doze off.
The film comes to a head in a brutal bloodbath that eventually leads to a major revelation – and viewers may be left with one or two questions once they’ve finished watching.
Read on for everything you need to know about the ending of Awake.
Awake ending explained
So, let’s start by setting the scene: we’re introduced to a world in which all human beings have lost the ability to sleep (something to do with a solar flare, apparently) and to compound things a massive power cut has rendered every object with a microchip obsolete.
Our central character, Jill (Gina Rodriguez), is a security guard at a university – which has previously seen her able to access large quantities of sleeping pills – and does not have custody of her kids Noah (Lucius Hoyos) and Matilda (Ariana Greenblatt).
But when it emerges that her daughter Matilda is one of only two people who has retained the ability to sleep, Jill embarks on an extremely dangerous cross-country trip to a hub where her former colleague Dr. Murphy (Jennifer Jason Leigh) is attending to the other remaining sleeper, trying to work on a cure.
Throughout the film, we are given reminders that the lack of sleep will have pretty severe implications for the population, including eventual death – but Jill is determined to keep Matilda’s ability a secret because she does not wish for her to be experimented on by Murphy, who she clearly doesn’t trust.
Instead, she wishes to rescue the other remaining sleeper and leave Matilda in her care, so that she is not alone when everyone else eventually succumbs to their sleep deprivation and dies.
After overcoming several obstacles – including a mass of escaped convicts – en route, things come to a head when Jill, Noah and Matilda arrive at the hub and come face to face with Murphy and her patient.
Murphy clearly wishes to experiment on Matilda, but is killed via injection by her colleague Dr. Katz (Gil Bellows) in order to prevent her from doing so.
Before her death, Murphy explained to Jill that while no cure had been found, the soldiers at the base had injected themselves with a cocktail that improved their mental acuity but came with major side effects – including hallucinations.
This all culminates in something of a bloodbath, with soldiers opening fire on each other due to erroneously believing that they were under attack – while Noah cuts through a wire and electrocutes himself before he is revived by Jill and Matilda.
At this point Matilda makes a discovery – when she had been involved in a car crash at the very beginning of the film, she had lost consciousness before she was revived by a police officer, and this is what had allowed her to regain the ability to sleep.
In other words, the only cure is for someone to be made unconscious and then brought back to life. Of course, this means that Noah has now also regained the ability to sleep, and the pair of them take their mother to a lake to drown her so that they can subsequently resuscitate her and cure her.
Just as the film cuts to black we hear Jill gasp – implying that she has regained consciousness and has now been cured.
So there you have it – all they had to do was turn people off and on again. Should’ve seen that one coming, really.