Wake Up - Short Film Review

★★★★

Directed by: #OliviaWilde

Written by: #GarrettCombs & #ChaseHilton

Starring: #MargaretQually, #JohnPirkis, #SamStillman

Short Film Review by Taryll Baker

Poster for Wake Up

A woman is forced to rediscover her humanity in an increasingly digital world.


It’s kind of paradoxical and ironic that I’m writing about this film on my laptop with my smartphone sat next to me. HP have given us a clear message with this short film directed by Olivia Wilde; “Our screens enable us to do extraordinary things. Let them enhance us, not diminish us.” — The use of smart devices have become integral to our lives, and although extremely helpful, it’s damaging also. But there is comfort found in staying connected with people across the globe. I, for one, love to spend my days chatting away to friends who aren’t even in my timezone, but with the highs come lows. The real beauty of technology is discovered when you find a balance. This film wears its message proudly on its sleeve, with the title Wake Up.


Olivia Wilde’s career seems to be taking an interesting turn as she looks to directing. With the success of Booksmart, it feels as if she’s finding her place behind the camera and, just by looking at the upcoming projects in the pipeline, you can tell this area of filmmaking excites her. Wake Up takes us on a short journey of rediscovery. A woman who may have spent her last pinch of luck, skips and dances around the city, fumbling through the many people who have their eyes locked on screens. She starts to realise just how “connected” we are, but it’s not the connection we, as humans, desire most. A conversation with a person online can only keep you entertained for so long, before wanting to explore a relationship further with real life interaction. The engrossing nature of smartphones in particular can become a burden and, at times, fatal. Olivia takes this idea and, though explored before, delivers a pretty impactful story.


Margaret Qually, who seems to have grabbed a lot of attention after Tarantino’s Once Upon A Time In Hollywood, shines as the striking lead in Wilde’s thoughtful short drama. She has a very admirable charm, a beautiful aura and striking personality. Wake Up proves that she can take a story even as simple as this, and provide a subtle but absorbing performance. Accompanying her is a powerful soundtrack filled with airiness and intensity. With each scene there’s something new happening in the music, adding just another layer of brilliance. I can’t find the individual responsible for the soundtrack, but their work isn’t unnoticed.


Wake Up ends on a sombre note, but it also ends with hope. It’s okay to use technology, but always remember to look up, you don’t want to miss something important.


#TaryllBaker