Review of Awakenings

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.


  1. SueW says:

    I never watched this but heard lots about it at the time it was released.
    Could I ask if you edited anything here after creating the initial pingback, the title maybe? I ask because when following your pingback from our site I’m directed to an empty page that says ‘Oops, there’s nothing here’ That usually happens if the title is changed after the pingback has published on our site.
    So, I found it by going directly to your site instead. Thank you, Mary Anne. 🙂


    1. Yes I was in the middle of editing the piece when my cat had other ideas. Such as jumping on to the keyboard to see what I was doing. Her paws of course ran across the keys and what a mess. The article populated to your site with Dusty’s take on the word review. Never a dull moment with our fur children.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. SueW says:

        That is so funny!

        Liked by 1 person

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