Film: Awakenings (1990)

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Film:

Awakenings

Director: Penny Marshall
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Distributor: Sony Pictures

Based on the acclaimed book by neurologist Oliver Sacks, director Penny Marshall’s hit 1990 drama stars Robin Williams as Dr. Malcolm Sayer. Sayer is a neurologist who discovers that the drug L-Dopa can be used to “unlock” patients in a mental hospital from the mysterious sleeping sickness that has left them utterly immobilized. Leonard (Robert De Niro) is one such patient who awakens after being in a comatose state for 30 years, leaving Sayer to guide Leonard in adjusting to the world around him. Penelope Ann Miller costars as the daughter of another patient,…

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Based on the acclaimed book by neurologist Oliver Sacks, director Penny Marshall’s hit 1990 drama stars Robin Williams as Dr. Malcolm Sayer. Sayer is a neurologist who discovers that the drug L-Dopa can be used to “unlock” patients in a mental hospital from the mysterious sleeping sickness that has left them utterly immobilized. Leonard (Robert De Niro) is one such patient who awakens after being in a comatose state for 30 years, leaving Sayer to guide Leonard in adjusting to the world around him. Penelope Ann Miller costars as the daughter of another patient, with whom Leonard falls tenuously in love. Earning Oscar nominations for best picture, actor, and screenplay, this moving fact-based drama was a hit with critics and audiences alike. —Jeff Shannon

Related Works

Book:Awakenings (Oliver Sacks)

Awakenings

Oliver Sacks

Awakenings—which inspired the major motion picture—is the remarkable story of a group of patients who contracted sleeping-sickness during the great epidemic just after World War I. Frozen for decades in a trance-like state, these men and women were given up as hopeless until 1969, when Dr. Oliver Sacks gave them the then-new drug L-DOPA, which had an astonishing, explosive, “awakening” effect. Dr. Sacks recounts the moving case histories of his patients, their lives, and the extraordinary transformations which went with their reintroduction to a changed world.

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