Since sometimes there is nothing good on the television. We often turn to various streaming channels. My husband and I chose to watch the movie Awakenings. A 1990 movie adoption directed by Penny Marshall starring Robin Williams and Robert De Niro. It is based on the true story of Dr. Oliver Sacks’ book written in 1973. He was a New York clinical neurologist who worked with patients that suffered the after effects of encephalitis. But somehow in the shadows of their minds they remained “alive.” Dr. Saks experimented with the drug L- dopa to awaken his patients out of their catatonia. Which only lasted four weeks that followed by terrible side affects.
Robin Williams plays Dr. Malcolm Sayers portraying him as a man with compassion and understanding for his patients. His character recognized that these patients were human beings with lives before being institutionalized. Realizing that these patients responded to familiar music and the human touch. True to Robin Williams’ acting it is a mixture of humor and thought provoking dialog.
Robert De Niro is casted as Leonard Lowe. Who has been in a catatonic state since an adolescent. Slowly with the help of Dr. Sayers, Leonard is able to communicate via a board game. To the point after being giving the experimental drug, Leonard had temporarily recovered his faculties. So many poignant scenes occur in this movie with all of the actors.
In my opinion, Robert De Niro’s acting was superb. I imagine playing the character of Leonard must have been mentally and physically difficult. Along with shades of beauty in expressing the human condition to thrive. Penny Marshall as the director was truly amazing. I also applaud the support cast of the movie. If you get the opportunity to see Awakenings, it is certainly an excellent movie.