Waking The Dead
In 1972, Coast Guard officer Fielding Pierce (Billy Crudup) is passionately drawn to Sarah Williams (Jennifer Connelly), an idealistic activist. She becomes his great love and they swear that they will never part. But, in 1974, fate brutally cleaves their futures: Sarah is murdered in a car bombing.
Years pass and Fielding, now an attorney, is living well in Chicago with his socialite girlfriend, Juliet Beck (Molly Parker). The governor has handpicked Fielding to run for a congressional seat. Fielding will soon have everything he’s strived for…except his lost love. Suddenly, he becomes consumed by memories, and then visions, of Sarah. As the past floods into the present, Fielding worries that he is losing his sanity.
The film opens with Fielding sobbing as he discovers a girl was killed in Chile. We soon discover that this was Sarah, the love of his life. The morose film then proceeds to bounce between flashbacks of the ‘70s where he met Sarah, and the ‘80s where he keeps seeing her in crowds. Perhaps if a linear approach had been used to tell the story, we could have been more sympathetic. That is only one of the film’s setbacks. It’s difficult for me to be drawn to characters such as these. Although Sarah works for the Catholic church, she lives with a man, profanes God’s name, and expresses leftist political views that include rooting for the Viet Cong and hoping her boyfriend won’t accept a job with the DA’s office, because she doesn’t want to see people put in prison. He fares no better. He lives outside marriage first with Sarah, then, years later, with a new gal who will help him get elected to Congress. He also profanes God’s name and uses one particular curse word whenever he wishes to express frustration and anger. Which is most of the time. He turns cruel towards his brother and this new girlfriend, without showing signs of remorse. He blasphemes by looking at a statue of Mary, the mother of Christ, and damning her. He also expresses other anti-religious sentiments. There is no spirituality expressed in the film, even from church leaders. And the union of Fielding and Sarah seems built on nothing more than physical attraction. Indeed, their relationship consists of debating political issues and jumping into the sack. He is obsessed with thoughts of a dead woman, but lacks any truly expressed feelings for others.