“I’ve always accepted my groggy mornings because they come with my glorious nights,” says filmmaker Alan Berliner in his latest Alan Berliner–themed documentary, Wide Awake (on HBO beginning 5/23), about his life-long struggle with insomnia. While most of us experience the occasional sleepless night, Berliner is one of the 70 million Americans for whom every night is a battle for elusive sleep.
But for all the anguish, the film is exceptionally charming and often funny (and the magnitude of old film clips is staggering) as it documents Berliner’s troubled relationship with sleep. As much as he can’t sleep easily before dawn, he really doesn’t want to, since after midnight is when his creativity and focus surge. After the birth of his first child, Berliner begins to worry he’s living in a different time zone than his family and — with the help of his long-suffering wife and several doctors — gropes for a cure.
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