In 1921, England is overwhelmed by the loss and grief of World War I. Hoax exposer Florence Cathcart visits a boarding school to explain sightings of a child ghost. Everything she believes unravels as the 'missing' begin to show themselves.
In 1921, in London, the arrogant and skeptical Florence Cathcart is famous for exposing hoaxes and helping the police to arrest con artists. The stranger Robert Mallory tells her that the headmaster of a boarding school in Rookford had invited her to travel to Cumbria to investigate a ghost that is frightening the pupils to death. He also tells that many years ago there was a murder in the estate and recently pupil Walter Portman had died. The reluctant Florence finally accepts to go to Cumbria. On arrival, she is welcomed by governess Maud and the boy Thomas Hill. Soon Florence discovers what had happened to Walter and then the students, teachers and staff are released on vacation, and Florence remains alone with Robert, Maud and Tom in the school. Florence is ready to leave the boarding school when strange things happen, leaving Florence scared. Written by
Claudio Carvalho, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil
(at around 20 mins) When Miss Cathcart is investigating the classroom where many of the ghost sightings occurred, for a brief moment on the chalkboard behind her there is a quotation that says: "They shall grow not old, as we that are left grow old." This is a line from the poem "For the Fallen" by British poet Laurence Binyon. Published in 1914, it was meant as an ode to the British soldiers dying in the First World War. This hints, among other things, at connections to the boys who were shown earlier in the film in the school photos, many of whom presumably died during the War. See more »
After finding her cigarette case in the pillow that she's ripped open, Florence goes outside with feathers stuck in her hair. In the next shot, however, the feathers are gone and her hair is clean again. See more »
[opening title] Observation: Between 1914 and 1919, war and influenza claimed more than a million lives in Britain alone. Conclusion: This is a time for ghosts. Florence Cathcart "Seeing Through Ghosts" p7 See more »
I love old-fashioned ghost stories, both in literature and in moving picture. It's a harder genre than people give credit to, especially because it's age. Since it has been done to death, almost every possibility and approach seems to have been covered. However, there are movies that have taken the this tired formula and made splendid films - The Orphanage is a good example of a ghost story done right. The Awakening started off right. The acting was good, the mood was efficiently set and the cinematography gorgeous to look at. I was many times at absolute awe at the beautiful images and camera shots that the movie boosted. However, the central thing in a movie is it's plot, and that's where things get shaky. The plot wasn't that great to begin with and as it progressed became less interesting, managing nonetheless to sustain my interest throughout until the end, which was by far the film's greatest weakness. The ending "twist" came too late and was done with too much haste, which hurt it's already shaky believability. I think the ending despite being far-fetched could still work if done more competently and with more preparation. It's still an enjoyable movie, but the beautiful and eerie imagery would be much better served by a better plot. All in all, a solid 5 for the film, 10 for the cinematography. This cinematographer deserves to be well known, assuming he isn't already.
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