Awareness summary and ending explained

Awareness follows Ian, a boy who possesses special powers and is chased by a secret agency. Ian’s life changes completely when he realizes that he is not the only one who has these powers. The film is now streaming on Prime Video.

Warning: This article contains heavy spoilers

Plot summary

Ian is an eighteen-year-old boy who has the ability to project visual illusions into other people’s minds. He uses his powers to make money with his father, Vicente, through petty crimes. Ian and Vicente are poor, but even then, Vicente does not allow him to commit major crimes. 

Ian is told that his mother also possessed similar powers and was taken to a lab where she was subjected to experiments. Ian is not allowed to go out often or make friends, as Vicente fears that his powers will be discovered. This frustrates Ian, who is not satisfied with his life.

One day, Ian and his father get caught shoplifting, and Ian uses his powers on the shop owner as well as the police to get rid of them. The next day, he defies his father and goes to the arcade to celebrate his birthday.

There, Ian gets kidnapped by an organization called the Agency. A man with the same powers as Ian intervenes but fails to stop the Agency from taking him. The Agency also abducts Vicente.

Ian meets Dr. Adriana, who tells him that he is a perceiver. The Agency is at war with another organization called Awareness, which comprises people like Ian. The Awareness has been controlling and manipulating the people in power, whereas the Agency works to preserve democracy.

The perceiver who tried to save Ian is believed to be the last remaining member of the Awareness and is the most powerful one that the Agency has ever encountered. He is also told that emotions are a great way to channel his powers.

Ian finds out that perceivers can read minds, and when he reads Vicente’s mind, he comes to know that he is not his father. Vicente took him away from his mother and never told him the truth. Ian has been living a lie all these years.

The Agency wants to extract the formula from Ian’s blood that can create as well as take away the perceivers’ powers. The formula was created by Dr. Kominski, a scientist who made sure that perceivers could not reproduce.

The Agency does not find any traces of the formula in Ian’s blood. He has inherited his powers from his parents, both of whom were perceivers and were somehow able to conceive. He is the first natural perceiver and has the potential to be extremely powerful. He might even have the third power, which allows perceivers to bend people’s wills. 

An agent named Esther helps Ian escape with Vicente. The perceiver who tried to save Ian earlier also comes looking for him, and Ian tries to hide from him because he was told that this perceiver will force him to join the Awareness.

Esther takes Ian to a safe place and later helps him rob a bank. As they grow closer, Ian starts liking Esther. Eventually, the perceiver finds Ian, reads his mind, and leaves him alone for the time being.

Ian then argues with Vicente and accuses him of kidnapping him and forcing him to live like a pauper. Ian chooses to leave Vicente and go to Warsaw with Esther to look for Kominski, as he wants to know more about his life. 

When he gets to the abandoned facility, he realizes that he has seen this place in his dreams several times. He has one particular memory of playing with his mother from when he was a year old. It turns out that his mother was Urszula Kominski, the scientist’s daughter.

The perceiver finds Ian again, and Ian comes to know that Esther has been working for him. The perceiver tells Ian that he is his real father. He and Ian’s mother are products of a program that aimed to make the perfect spies in the 1950s.

Ian’s parents were volunteers, but once the Cold War ended, the Agency decided to execute the perceivers. However, they could not kill the most powerful perceiver, known as the Mule, who had the third power. The Mule went on to form the Awareness to protect perceivers.

When the Agency finds Ian, his father asks him to go to his house, where Ian will get to meet his mother. Ian flees with Esther, but his father is taken by the Agency. They try to extract the formula from his blood but realize that it is too diluted to be extracted.

The Agency deliberately made Ian’s father aware of Ian’s whereabouts to lure him out in order to get the formula, only to realize that it cannot be done. Ian’s father then uses his powers to escape once again.

Ian reunites with his mother at his father’s house. His mother can no longer move or talk, as the Agency had operated on her brain to get the formula. His father tells him that his mother destroyed Kominski’s formula and implanted a memory in Ian’s mind.

The memory that he has of playing with his mother contains the formula, and that is what Ian’s father wants. Ian reads his mother’s mind and sees that memory, but his father is unable to access it, as his mother does not want him to see it.

In an effort to keep Ian’s father from seeing the formula, Ian’s mother dies. The Agency also finds Ian, and this time, they send a small army of armed men to capture Ian.

Awareness ending explained in detail:

Why did Vicente kidnap Ian?

Losing his mother intensifies Ian’s emotions, and he is able to control the men who have come to get him, which means that Ian has the third power. Ian makes most of the men kill each other.

Adriana also arrives there and denies operating on his mother. She reveals that they lost his mother several years ago and that his father is lying to him. Vicente also tries to make Ian see that his father is manipulating him, but Ian does not believe them.

A furious Ian almost makes Adriana and all her men kill themselves, but Vicente stops him. When Vicente tries to tell him that he raised him and that he considers Ian his son, Ian’s father makes Vicente shoot himself.

Vicente then makes Ian read his mind, despite knowing that he will not survive Ian getting into his mind. Ian sees Vicente’s memories and comes to know that his mother begged him to protect Ian and take him far away from the scientists and the perceivers.

Ian realizes that Vicente sacrificed his whole life to keep Ian safe and loved Ian like a father. Before dying, Vicente asks Ian to choose his own path and lets him see an old memory of the time when he taught Ian a lesson about being hopeful and never giving up. 

Does Ian kill his father?

Ian now knows that, unlike Vicente, his father does not love him. He was using him to get the formula. Ian’s father kidnaps Esther, so Ian goes after him. His father makes people attack Ian, but Ian somehow manages to defeat them.

Ian’s father holds Esther at gunpoint, which leads to Esther asking Ian to do as his father says. Adriana, who has followed Ian, tells him that only Ian can see Esther. She is not a real person; she is a loop, a projection that never ends, that Ian’s father put in his head and made him imagine that Esther was with him all this time.

Ian realizes that his father must have put it in his mind when he tried to stop the Agency from kidnapping him at the arcade. Ian then shoots his father and kills him. The bullet goes through Esther without harming her, which proves that she is not real.

Does Ian give the Agency the formula?

After the incident, Adriana tells Ian that the Agency is at war with the Awareness and needs the formula. Like Vicente, Ian is neither siding with the Agency nor the Awareness, but he tells her that he would think about giving her the formula.

Ian knows that Esther is not real, but he still pretends that she is. He asks her to open the gift that Vicente gave him on his birthday, and it turns out to be a book. There is also a note asking Ian to be hopeful.

Adriana has been working with an American man all this time. She assures him that Ian is no longer under anyone’s control and he trusts her. If she fails to recruit him, she will execute him. 

However, when Ian sees her talking to the man through the rearview mirror, it is revealed that the American man is not real either. Right before the film ends, Ian realizes that someone has put a loop in Adriana’s mind. 

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