The Awakening (2011)

The Awakening (imdb)

A Chinese man servant dressed in dark coloured silk  is shown in 1921 London. He is helping with a fake seance.

In a short space of movie time, some character development is afforded the grieving couple who lost their daughter, the girl pretending to be their daughter’s ghost and the man holding the seance. However, the most out of place character (the Chinese servant) is shown standing around as if in another dimension, not interested and not interesting to the story.

Ten seconds of character development would not have interfered with the story line but might have been used to enrich it. Unfortunately, the Chinaman becomes an orientalist object, background fauna or human chinoiserie. The level of dismissal may even be worse as he is not listed on imdb (hopefully I am mistaken).

While this is common of some movies where servants and slaves are seen for less than five-seconds without any spoken words or personality development, this movie goes out of the way to show the main female protagonist Florence Cathcart (Rebecca Hall) as an educated woman who does not believe in God or ghosts. She is independent, more intelligent than male teachers and atypically tall for a female. In other words, Hollywood would go overboard to be non-conformist when it comes to Europeans if it would aid in making a story more interesting.

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