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- Facing the Incurable Disease
I was in high school when i first saw this film while unwinding myself one evening from a school work. It was in a free tv channel in our local area that when i first saw this moving flick. Then years have passed, I bought this film straight from the video shop near in our place...from then, it became one of my favorite films for all-time.
'Awakenings' is a story of hope, survival, and triumph of human spirit amidst of uncertainties in the fields of science and health. Two of the most notable and brilliant actors in their own right (and at the same time, included in my lists of favorite actors)...Robin Williams and Robert de Niro surfaces their award-winning performances in this film. Dr. Sayer magnificently played by Robin Williams which I truly commend him for being a versatile actor...not just a comedian but an actor whose different portrayals in his different movies gave an astounding performances with better execution. We saw Robin Williams played also as a doctor in 'Patch Adams' which is more humorous and spirited act but not in 'Awakenings' which branded more on a serious tone and in a sense 'geek' doctor. Nevertheless, he fairly overcome his pathetic character to become extreme but turning to a mild one.
In Robert De niro's character as Leonard Lowe, who was contracted with a forgotten illness of 1920's did a great performance. It is likely believable for De Niro's part to be in this character as a patient of this illness. I was moved by his credible act for this movie.
Penny Marshall should also be credited for a wonderful and moving performances of her actors and of course her unique directing gave way the very heart of this film.
The film was dealing with an incurable disease of the 1920s which existed until the 1960's with no medicines that are able to cure them but Dr.Sayer tried to dare himself by experimenting with drugs that can cure basically Parkinson's disease and which is so uncertain also if it cures the disease that Leonard and others has. But lo, everybody 'awakened' from their long sleep. Leonard and the others experienced a short 'awakenings' in their life that particular summer but not for long...the disease came back and no matter how the drugs (that cured them before) prevent this, it is useless. Although the film deals with this disease there is something more incurable disease that revolves around the story or much more, it is the worse disease that humanity have ever contracted...the disease of indifference...
Sayer was right in saying 'We are faced with incurable disease...that is indifference'...The film doesn't focus only on that particular disease but the the disease of indifference also. What makes life more simpler and happier that one cannot find in the facts of science and medicine? That is love and compassion...that makes life so simpler and yet so fulfilling. The joys of life that one can attain and live fully is given by the people we loved dearly and loved us and through this love one can cure the disease of indifference. 'Awakenings' speaks about this...
I definitely recommend this to everyone...of all ages. So that you can find cure by giving your total and unconditioned love for your family and friends as well as others......more info
- Miracle in New York--a Miracle from Hollywood
I don't know how this wonderful movie ever got made. It's not a feel good movie. It's got Robert DeNiro but he's not playing a tough guy. It's got Robin Williams but he's not being funny. But I'm glad that whoever pushed for it did so. And I'm glad Hollywood relented. AWAKENINGS is a quietly powerful movie of enormous depth and passion. Anyone who has seen the movie has been affected by it.
Based on Oliver Sack's book, AWAKENINGS recounts the story of a miracle that occurred in a New York hospital during the mid-1960s. Bucking the system and believing in his theory, Williams' character brings back a dozen patients who appear catatonic--DeNiro being one of them. Through massive applications of the drug L-Dopa, the patients revive and take sheer joy out of just simple tasks. Although the sad ending has been given away by others, I feel the film remains a positive story. It is about human endurance and also about the joys we some times take for granted....more info
This the only movie that ever made me cry and kept me thinking about it a week after I saw it. You do not want to miss this. Robin Willaims is great and Robert De Niro is simply amazing as Leonard Lowe.This right away became a favorite of mine....more info
- An touching lovely drama.
A Doctor (Robin Williams) believes people are in Catatonic are alive inside. The Doctor using an Experimental Drug on his Catatonic Patiens. He has successed with his First Recipient (Two Time Oscar-Winner:Robert De Niro) of this Medication.
Directed by Penny Marshall (Riding in Cars with Boys) made a terrific drama, which is Based on a True Story. Wonderful Performances by De Niro and Williams. Great Supporting Cast including:Julie Kavner, Ruth Nelson, John Heard, Penelope Ann Miller and Max Von Sydow. A touching, moving, unforgettable film. Grade:A....more info
- L Dopa Really Fixed Me Up!
I think "Awakenings" is a good dramatization of the real life scientific study as presented in the book. But I'm more interested in the scientific story than a dramatazation of it that creates a love interest and basically has Robin Williams playing the role he'd redo in Patch Adams (albeit of course much better in "Awakenings") than actually relive the life of the renowned neurologist Oliver Sacks who is of course fictionalized here and wrote the book. And the portrayal of people with disabilities takes the usual Hollywood stereotypes, they are shuffling zombies who lack humanity, their humanity is restored by a "miracle" (hate that word) drug L-Dopa and then lose it again but there is a hint they were human all along. Well to tell you the truth I know this may blow your mind but having a disability is something we all will experience or may already and all people should be considered human. However, it is true this was a clinical study and its accurate that that is how people are seen in a study or certainly by medical science at the time but as a survivor of tardive dyskinesia and tardive psychosis (a condition still in study), both Parkinsonian conditions although in this case enduced by neuraleptics who has had it treated by new medications in study (as well as study anti-psychotics that can't create these conditions) and began to recover, in experiencing this kind of recovery first hand (the movement disorders depicted in "Awakenings" are startingly similar to those I have and are well depicted)I found the original book and enlightening and did find the film moving I must admit but it got a bit maudlin and took liberties with the book. However, more importantly, it seemed out of the scope of this movie and much Hollywood fare that a person with this form of disability could not only be a part of society but could advocate for treatment and to recover. And I would hope that that could be changed. But as in the movie "hope" didn't get people anywhere. Scientific research in a humanistic fashion of which I am an active participant in and advocate did and when I look at "Awakenings" in this light yes there is something moving about but more in the spirit of the original research, not at at all as a "failed" experiment but one to build on so more people can recover as I did. And there is no time for "miracles" as with the original research it only gets in the way of what is ahead....more info
- Awe Inspiring
It's hard to review a film that is so wonderful. You never had a reason to stop this film. There was never a dull moment. Though looking at an institution was very disturbing, meeting the people who live in one and the way they are treated was very interesting....more info
- "for him, it's as if there were thousands of bars and behind the thousands of bars no world..."
Awakenings grabs your attention from the very beginning and it never lets go. The plot moves along at a good pace and the acting is superb. Moreover, this film is somewhat based on the real life experiences of Dr. Oliver Sacks, a prominent psychiatrist. The cinematography is excellent and the choreography also shines; this is not a film you'll forget anytime soon.
When the action starts we meet a healthy young boy named Leonard Lowe (Anthony J. Nici) and two of his friends playing and going to school in the 1930s. Unfortunately, Leonard develops an illness so disabling he cannot write his exams in school. Leonard must stay home every day and he becomes more and more ill over time. We then flash forward to the summer of 1969 to meet Dr. Malcolm Sayer (Robin Williams) who, despite his relative lack of clinical experience, gets hired to practice psychiatry at a hospital in The Bronx area of New York City. Dr. Sayer's coworkers, including the doctors, think very little of him; and Sayer's only friend is one of the nurses named Eleanor Costello (Julie Kavner). Many of the patients in the chronic care hospital have been either comatose or unresponsive for decades; and clearly the staff has given up on them. Nevertheless, Sayer and Nurse Costello do extensive chart research and they find that many if not all of the patients had encephalitis when they were younger--could this be a clue as to how to treat them?
Sayer thinks he has an answer that can help the patients; but his boss and colleagues bristle when he suggests using a drug called L-Dopa. Sayer thinks that this drug could help the patients at the hospital although it was designed to treat entirely different disorders. Dr. Sayer bravely insists that at least one patient should be allowed to try the drug on an experimental basis; and thus the now grown up Leonard Lowe (Robert DeNiro) is given the drug.
Much to the delight of Sayer, Leonard "awakens" from his relatively catatonic state and experiences the change in the world that has come about during his nearly thirty years of being "away." Leonard is shocked that he is now a man; and his mother Mrs. Lowe (Ruth Nelson) is sometimes hurt when Leonard wants to spend time with a woman instead of her! Leonard also wants to go for a walk alone outside the hospital; but even Dr. Sayer is worried that he could be taken advantage of all alone in the real world without some supervision.
Yes, even more patients get better with the proper dosages of the drug L-Dopa. But will things stay that way? Watch the movie and find out!
In particular, the performances in this film are unforgettable. Robert DeNiro is stellar as the grown up Leonard Lowe; and Robin Williams surely does a huge stretch from being the funny, wacky comedian to playing the role of a somewhat nerdy doctor in this movie. Julie Kavner also turns in a convincing performance as the one staff member who truly believes in Dr. Sayer.
Awakenings deserves to be in your DVD collection. This film will appeal especially to people like me who have worked with troubled or sick individuals in hospitals or clinics; and people who enjoy human interest stories will appreciate this motion picture as well.
- It will bring you out of the darkness!
After viewing this film over fifty times since its release I would say this film is my absolute favorite. It belongs at the top of my list. From the first moment of the movie, you understand that you are in for the emotional roller-coaster ride of your life! Robert de Niro and Robin williams, are so passionate and give their absolute greatest performances. By some standards this film would be considered slow if you solely like all the other films I have reviewed (Click my name). But to say that is a slander to the film, the writer Oliver Sacks (The book) , Penny Marshall the Director, and all others involved. It will give you a more wholesome outlook on life and appreciate what you have. Some things are down-right halarious, while other moments make you think (And believe me the moving Film-Score will make you think!) Don't get me wrong, some of you will not like this movie, because it takes a certain taste to like it...But for the chosen-few who will give this film a shot and go with it, you will be blessed beyond measure. "Its just the simple things...You have to be reminded...The meaning of Life...The Wonder of life...The Freedom of life...!"...more info
- DeNiro, Williams in a poignant human drama
Undeniably one of the industry's most underrated directors, Penny Marshall attained lofty heights in 1990 with this poignant and true drama about one doctor's (Robin Williams, in a brilliant dramatic performance) awakening his own soul to the risk of love while literally awakening patients in a New York chronic care hospital in the late 1960's. Based on Dr. Oliver W. Sacks' novel of the same time and based on his professional experience, "Awakenings" is one doctor's triumph in identifying (by accident) the correct chemical balance in the drug L-Dopa to bring sufferers of a sleeping sickness that totally immobilizes them to life. As Leonard, Robert DeNiro is the shiniest of the wonder drug's triumphs, and DeNiro glimmers in one of the most compelling and humane performances of his magnificent career. But the miracle begins to wane all too soon, and both Dr. Sayer and Leonard painfully prepare for the day when Leonard and his fellow sufferers lapse again into their immobilized state. The film's scenes that lead to that devastation are real, honest and painfully moving and don't insult us with phony sentimentality. But in the process, Leonard instills in his and his fellow patients' caregivers a sense of humanity for their suffering, and Dr. Sayer manages to find the courage to risk loving something other than his work. In a supporting role as the object of Leonard's rediscovered love, Penelope Ann Miller is tremendous. It is little wonder the film was a favorite with multiple Oscar nominations, and DeNiro and Williams are at their best here. But it is director Marshall's vision of the fragility of human life and love and the power of that which is the focus of her film, and her vision is powerfully moving and humbling....more info
- A MOVIE OF EXCELLENCE
A moving masterpiece that shows that Miracles still exist. A
wonderful true story with giant stars (Robin Williams and Robert DeNiro) filling giant shoes. Both who deserved oscars for their powerful roles. Load up on the kleenex. I certainly could watch this film over and over again....more info
- Terrific Movie
This was one of the best movies I ever had the pleasure of watching. It is a true touching story and it is very moving. Boh Robin Williams and Robert De Niro put forth excellent performances. Although, Robert DeNiro should take all the glory for this one. He portrayed his part beyound stellar. Two Thumbs up all the way!...more info
- Outstanding Movie
This was one of the most outstanding movies I have ever seen. I have just resently seen this movie for the first time and I could watch it over and over again. I was touched by this movie,and was inspired in so many ways! I give it 5 stars and would recommend it to anyone....more info
- Williams & DeNiro are Great!
Robert DeNiro in a totally different role as a boy who awakens from a coma, after many years, as a man! Williams as the doctor who tries desperately to revive other patients like DeNiro and then act as a father and mentor to each. Then later Williams tries everything humanly possible to keep his patients from relapsing to their former coma state.
The scene where DeNiro wakes up for the first time and puts his arms out with a big smile is one of my favorite movie scenes of all-time. This was probably Robin Williams best role ever!...more info
- START ME UP
(CAUTION: SPOILER INFO)
Just think if your life was stopped much like someone using a remote control "pause" button - only to have it started with a push of "play" for a short time and then crucially and finally returned back to the paused state. The movie Awakenings, based on the neurologist Oliver Sacks book, does just that. In it Williams as Dr Malcolm uncovers a drug called L-Dopa that can be used to "start" patients from their immobilized state of being. Only to have them return to their previous state after the drug loses its effectiveness. Regardless of the final outcome of these patients, ultimately, it is the journey of the doctors, patients and their families that makes this movie so special.
Especially the chemistry that forms between the Williams and DeNiro.
There is one scene that will never leave my mind. It is when Dr Malcolm completes the black-n-white checked pattern on the hospital floor for a patient he is attempting to help. Look for it when you watch it and you will see what I mean. It's special.
If you like dramas that make you think, (even if they don't always have a happy ending) then this is your type of movie
It's a buy...more info
- Williams + De Niro = Brilliant Film
"What's this?" Leonard says as he turns the radio dial.
"Rock music" Dr.Sayer tells him.
Makes you wander if we appreciate the things we assume are suppose to (be, come out, or just happen) b/c that's the way it happens for everyone else. So if you don't really acknowledge that you appreciated what you had and unexpectedly lose that or those things, do you have the right to be angry at anyone or something for taking it away from you?
This movie in a way; if you look at it at a different perspective than you would a normal movie makes you see that we take advantage of too many things and we could never in a million years make up all the (things) we have been too busy to say or have had the mind-set (that's the way it's suppose to be)...more info
- An Incredible, Haunting Story That Endures Like The Patients
Here's a good example of how you can still make a great modern-day movie without profanity, violence or sex. It's also a movie which never stops being fascinating.....at least to me.
This is an amazing story, based on fact, about about a doctor who makes great progress fighting an illness that heretofore was considered incurable. These were patients in catatonic states, and the good doctor uses an experimental drug to snap these people back to reality and to a normal life as they once had. The patients, and how they react, both before and after the medications, is really fascinating.
Robert De Niro is outstanding as one of the patients, but that's not a surprise knowing all the fine acting performances he's done over the years. Robin Williams, relatively new to dramatic acting when this came out, was also excellent in a very low-key role. Penelope Ann Miller is extremely sweet and appealing. I wish both she and Williams would do more roles like that.
With multiple viewings, I came to appreciate the minor characters in here a lot more, such as De Niro's mother, played by Ruth Nelson, whom I fondly remember in the 1945 film "A Tree Grows In Brooklyn." What a treat is was to see her again and this was just two years before she died. Also, Alice Drummund as the patient known as "Lucy" was notable.
Language-wise, i's almost stunning to watch a movie which has De Niro, Williams, Miller and John Heard and not hear one profane word uttered! (The film isn't perfect, however, as some idiot decided to insert one f-word, and in a totally unnecessary circumstance.)
This is a memorable, haunting story and one I guarantee you won't forget because the subject matter is so different.
does it even need to be said? a brilliant movie, a brilliant book. i've just seen it for the fourth time, and it is still as poignant, as stunning, as tragic, as beautiful, and as amazing as it was the first....more info
- Williams and DeNiro shine!
Based on the real life story of Dr. Oliver Sacks, 'Awakenings' ranks as one of the best movies I've seen. If features a terrific screenplay that was adapted from the book and a memorable directing job by Penny Marshall. But the most suprising thing to me was the choice of actors to play the two main roles in the movie. Robin Williams was pretty much known as the slightly insane comic genius from the 1980's, and Robert DeNiro was playing such hard-hitting, aggressive characters in films like 'Raging Bull', 'The Untouchables', 'Taxi Driver', and 'The Deer Hunter'. Both actors turn in career performances, and play parts that totally will smash any preconceived notions you had of them up to that point.
The film is based on Dr. Leo Sayer(Williams) and his work with people who have come down with a mysterious sleeping-sickness in 1918, which has left them in a catatonic state. Dr. Sayer is a shy person who is not comfortable conversing with others, but is also a very dedicated neurologist. He starts to work with these "sleeping" people and thinks that he senses something in them that is alive deep inside. He begins to work with a man called Leonard Lowe(DeNiro), and takes a special interest in him. He reads up on the drug L-Dopa, which had helped people in similiar states as his patients, and tries to convince the hospital and Leonard's mother to try the drug on her son. They allow the test to happen, and Leonard wakes up from his "sleep". The drug is then tried on his other patients with similar results. You would think that it was a happy story from thereafter, but life is not full of Hollywood endings, and the story does not take the easy way out. It won't leave you depressed or exhilarated but somewhere in between, like life is most of the time.
Definitely one of the best films to come out in the past 12 years, and should be in any serious movie buff's collection. There are no extra's on the DVD, but the quality of the picture is pretty good. But in the end, isn't it about the movie, not the extra's(by the way, I love the extra's just as much as everyone else). Marshall, Williams, and DeNiro have made a special film that they should be proud of and will be watched by generations to come....more info
- A Preview of the Decade of the Brain - the 1990's
Penny Marshall directed a fascinating movie when she brought to screen Oliver Sacks' book AWAKENINGS. It captures New York City beautifully during the early part of the century, and later in the 1960's. The story unfolds around the doctor based on Oliver Sacks. The patients represent a true 'awakening' that occurred in New York with the drug L-Dopa. This event has become so important in the history of medicine that a Nobel Prize winner, Dr. Arvid Carlsson, mentioned this event in his Nobel Lecture in the year 2000. Penny Marshall had a tremendous vision bringing this event to screen in 1990. It is an incredibly moving film....more info
- Brilliant but sad movie
Awakening is a true story directed by Penny Marshall. It is a movie about people without hope, suffering from encephalitis. The movie starts and ends in Bronx, New York in 1969. Robin William plays the challenging role of a doctor who is expected to look after the affected patients, without an aim of making them get better. Against the will of his superiors, he tries a medicine originally meant for patients suffering with Parkinson's disease on one of his patients Leonard (Robert de Niro). After achieving an unexpected success on Leonard, he tries the same medicines on all the patients. There was a miracle as it worked out on everyone, and they start living a normal life, but after some time it starts showing its side effects on Leonard. This part in the movie was really very depressing, because it again took him back to that pitiable state, same as earlier, but the saddest part was that all other patients knew that they all will face the same situation after some time and the same thing happened to them.
This movie was great but at the same time very depressing. Robin Williams and Robert de Niro play very impressive roles. One should definitely see this amazing movie.
- A moving revelation
There is one scene I will always remember from Awakenings. It's when Dr. Malcolm Sayer (Robin Williams) sits on a bench at the zoo watching a large cat pace behind the bars, staring out at him but unable, of course, to leave its confinement. All it does is pace. And in a voiceover we can hear a Rilke poem, "The Panther," ("his gaze has been so worn by the procession...") And Sayer begins to understand what is going on in the minds of his catatonic patients; though their bodies are dead, their higher mental functions may not be.
The focus is on one patient, Leonard Lowe (Robert De Niro), who for years now has not moved or spoken or really given any sign that he is aware of the world. Sayer discovers, however, that with the use of a certain drug, L-dopa (usually given to people with Parkinson's), the catatonic people can begin to move and "come alive" again. Suddenly the psychiatric ward is full of people who have missed out on decades of their lives, and are trying to come to terms with that. More alarming yet is the fear that the drug's effects will be only temporary.
Robin Williams delivers a deep, quiet performance as the introverted doctor, a loner who did research on earthworms before taking his position at the psychiatric ward. His work with his patients, particularly Leonard (who is the first to receive L-dopa), teaches the doctor humanity and encourages him to develop a friendship with Eleanor, a sweet and shy nurse (played by Julie Kavner - the voice of Marge Simpson). Robert De Niro is wonderful. He embraces the role completely, delivering it without artifice or bathos. As a whole the movie proceeds slowly, so it's not for the impatient viewer. If you let it, it will draw you in; it really is one of the finest films out there on the human mind and soul....more info
- A true classic
One of the finest movies ever made. Williams and DiNero at the top of their game...more info
- Robin Williams' best dramatic film!
A bearded Robin Williams co-stars with Robert DeNiro in this film based on a true story. Dr. Malcolm Sayer(Williams) applies for a position in the neurology lab in a new hospital. The patients are mentally disabled,one of them being Leonard Lowe(DeNiro). Leonard,until he receives his medication,is not very mobile and talkative. When he receives the medication,he acts and talks like any healthy human being. He meets a pretty girl(Penelope Ann Miller) at the hospital and takes romantic interest in her. His elderly mother(Ruth Nelson) was shockingly surprised about this. "He's never talked about girls or had anything to do with them.",she says. Leonard,in another scene,after taking the medication,takes the liberty of going for a walk. He is about to exit the hospital when two security guards forcefully stop him from exiting. Leonard's healthy phase doesn't last long. After the medication wears off,he's back to being almost immobile and silent. Other memorable scenes include Malcolm and Leonard wading in the open seas and eating ice cream on cones while sitting on a bench. Leonard's mother thought her son had Parkinson's disease. Malcolm told her Leonard's symptoms were similar to Parkinson's. One of the hospital nurses told Malcolm in another scene,"Dr. Sayer,it's a f---ing miracle!". The mentally ill patients were all healthy. They're even at a nightclub dancing. Another one of the ill patients is played by Anne Meara,Ben Stiller's mother. This film is based on the book by a real doctor named Oliver Sacks. Penny Marshall,late of TV's Laverne & Shirley directed this fantastic film. Marshall previously directed BIG starring Tom Hanks. By the way,this film was set in 1969. We hear The Zombies' hit TIME OF THE SEASON in one scene. Julie Kavner of TV's The Simpsons and late of Rhoda,plays Eleanor,one of the hospital nurses. Those who saw this film also saw many other films starring Williams and DeNiro,although this is the only one to date that they did together....more info
- TOUCHING DRAMA WITH SUPERB PERFORMANCES.
"Awakenings" is one of those movies that will touch most of the people due to the situations that the film shows. The movie is based on a book written by real-life neurologist Oliver Sacks, represented in the movie as Dr. Malcolm Sayer, played by Robin Williams. This is the story of a group of catatonic people living in the `60s, and the struggle of Dr. Sayer to save these people.
It's really a shame that diseases like this can destroy the ability to fulfill the hopes and desires of the human beings, and "Awakenings" superbly captures on-screen the pain and suffer of the relatives of the affected people that can't fully enjoy their physical abilities.
"Awakenings" displays excellent performances from Robin Williams, in one of his finest performances, and the magnificent Robert De Niro as well. However, the movie wouldn't had the same impact if the supporting cast wouldn't delivered such fine performances as they did on "Awakenings", everybody on this movie contributed to print a remarkable realism to the movie.
"Awakenings" is a film that will provoke several feelings, will provide clean entertainment and will make people reflect about the value of life, because the human life could be limited or finished at any time....more info
- An Uplifting Film about the Limits of Consciousness
_Awakenings_ is one of the better movies that I have seen recently. It is based on the real-life story (and book) of Oliver Sacks and his extraordinary work with "sleeping-sickness" patients in the 1960s. In a preview to his work in _Patch Adams_, Robin Williams turns in an outstanding performance as a doctor who refuses to write off the consciousness and humanity of his patients in the neurology ward to which he has recently been appointed. If that wasn't enough, Robert Deniro comes on the scene halfway through the film and delivers a stunning performance that yanks the rug out right out from underneath Williams. His performance is very moving and never fails to get to me.
While his Dr. Sayer's (Williams) techniques and experiments are, from a modern perspective, unethical and surprising, one never doubts his intentions and care for his patients. The movie really churns up debate over the "personhood" of human beings that are in a vegetable state. To whom do we grant consciousness? How can we tell? What are the limits of personality? Dr. Sayer's tireless work with these patients and brief success truly challenge many of our assumptions about medical patients and their rights. Fortunately, Hollywood did not screw this movie up and the film does not end in typical Pollyanna fashion. If you like emotional films, inspirational stories, or the acting of Robin Williams and Robert DeNiro, you cannot go wrong with this film. ...more info
- The Simple Thing's
'Awakenings' has been my favorite movie for a long time now, but it hasn't always been so. I suppose it took a bit of maturing, and maybe a couple years of vigorous movie watching to come to the conclusion that this is my favorite.
Robin Williams plays a realistic, tender, giving person named Doctor Sayer. His innocence and humbleness in the movie is something that baffled me all through my younger years. How could the crazy Robin Williams pull of something so real? Well, I was unknowing to his other accomplishments prior to that time. Movies such as 'Good Morning, Vietnam' and 'Dead Poets Society' had already been added to his filmography. The Robin Williams I knew had only been in movies like Popeye and little show called Mork and Mindy. Since 'Awakenings' he has done amazing performances in both the dramatic, and comedic realms. Soon to be added to his list of talent's is the "Serial Killer" in Insomnia. What an amazing actor. Also see his dramatic acting in 'What Dreams May Come'.
Julie Kavner is someone who I have recently discovered. How could I not have placed her voice with that of Marge Simpson. Well, to put it mildly I had a duck when I put that together. Her list of accomplishments include the honest movie 'This is My Life' and, of course The Simpsons.
Robert Deniro will never (mark my words) be able to top his sacrificial performance as Leonard. Not even his classic and raw character in 'The Deer Hunter' came close to Leonard. From being totally motionless to having his body wracked with the gripping illness, he is totally believable, and never allows the viewer to doubt he isn't for real. The fact that he didn't win an oscar is a tragedy.
Based on Dr Oliver Sack's true life experiences in the late 60's, 'Awakenings' the book is written in chapters titled by the patient's name. Most memorably "Lucy" and "Leonard." It tells of his experiments with the drug "L-dopa" (a synthetic dope) to attack the sickness from a Parkinson's Disease(p?rkn-snz) stand-point.
Amidst the powerful words of the movie (so many, of which you must discover on your own) is the amazing musical score by Randy Newman, who righfully won his first oscar in 2003 for best original song. He shows his tallent for creating emotional and entirely unique compositions. This movie has one of the greatest soundtracks of all time. Unfortunately the soundtrack is hard to find.
There are movies, epic's mostly, that people are accustomed to watching over and over. I have seen 'Awakenings' between 50 and 100 times, and with every viewing learn and appreciate something new about life. Penny Marshall's project was bigger than her, bigger than the actors, bigger than the screen. Her insight made it that way. She created something that she will never be able to re-do or re-capture. Though her movies like 'A League of Their Own' and 'Big' are great classics worth owning, the emotional and spiritual depth of 'Awakenings' is something that only It can do. When you watch this, my favorite film, reflect on your own life. How much you have. How much you could loose. This is a learning experience that everyone should own. ~S.A.O.S.~...more info
- Just awesome
One of my favorite films.It is sensitive without getting maudlin.And most of all it showcases Robin Williams without his stereotypical funny man image and also De Niro without his "You talkin' to me " type machismo. Its a movie about the triumph of the human spirit told with a conviction that radiates from every frame.In short, very very watchable and that too many times....more info
- De Niro And Williams at there best!!
Robert De Niro and Robin Williams both did a great job in this movie. Robin Williams plays the role of a doctor, a very shy doctor at that! De Niro plays a patient with sleeping sickness who hasnt said a word or done anything on his own is 30 years.
Robin Williams dedicates his time to finding a cure or at least something to help these patients like somewhat of a normal life. I dont want to ruin the movie for those who havent seen it some Im gonna stop there.
But Robert De Niro does an excellent job with his role in this movie. He his famous for his roles in The Godfather Part II, Taxi Driver, The Deer Hunter, Heat, Raging Bull, Goodfellas, The Untouchables, and Casino. In all of these movies he plays either a gangster or a bad@$$ of some sort. So seeing this movie really shows the acting ability that he has.
I dont usually watch movies like this but I had De Niro in it so I had to watch it. And coming from someone who loves Gangster Movies; this is one of Robert De Niro's best performances and I recommend this movie to everyone, this is a must see!!!...more info
- Penny Marshall's finest film.
Awakenings is a depressing film but an important one to watch. Directed by Penny Marshall, Awakenings is based on a true story of patients who have come out of mental illness unscathed, well temporarily of course. Robert De Niro gives the performance of a lifetime and Robin Williams proves he is more than a funny, goofy actor. Penelope Ann Miller is stunning in this film as well, very under-rated actress. Give this '90s tearjerker a viewing, enjoy!...more info
- DeNiro Beats Out Williams
DeNiro is one of the finest actors in the world today. Robin Williams couldn't act his way out of a melodrama. Put these two together and see how DeNiro outclasses Williams completely. DeNiro is superb as the patient. Williams is lousy, as usual, as the doctor. Williams was irksome as Mork and continues to be irksome in his succeeding roles. He needs to visit an acting coach who can convince him to give up acting for the good of the country. DeNiro justs needs to be in every picture that comes out. With him in pictures the other actors have someone who can challenge them to reach their finest moments as actors. Williams, sadly, didn't rise to meet the challenge and continues to nauseate in every picture he puts out. I gave this movie five stars because of DeNiro. Williams gets zero stars just because he exists and is always reminding people of it....more info
- Open your eyes to this beautifully touching film...
If ever I feel like I need a good cry (my wife is always saying I am such a girl, but I appreciate the need for emotional release) then this is one of the four or five films I readily reach for (the others being `The Elephant Man', `Million Dollar Baby', `Of Mice and Men' and the mediocre yet emotionally draining `I Am Sam'). If Ron Howard is the king of schmaltz then Penny Marshall is the queen, for she understands, like Howard, how to create a heavy-handed manipulative film feel natural and inviting. This film slides down smooth as can be, despite the fact that each and every frame is designed to antagonize our emotions.
`Awakenings' is based on the book written by neurologist Oliver Sacks. The book is based on the true story of neurologist Malcolm Sayer who discovers that a drug called L-Dopa has the ability to release patients suffering from encephalitis (a sleeplike sickness), unlocking their minds and allowing them to interact with loved ones for the first time in years. One such patient is Leonard Lowe, who has been suffering from encephalitis for thirty-some years.
The film would have been less effective if acting giants Robert De Niro and Robin Williams hadn't been cast as the two leads. Many have made claims that Williams was unfairly overlooked come awards season for his tamed and controlled portrayal of Malcolm Sayer, and while I loved him I have to agree with the Academy for choosing De Niro's heartbreaking performance over Williams'. Williams and De Niro are perfect compliments, but De Niro is the more memorable revelation if you ask me. As Lowe, De Niro is able to attach himself to our hearts, cycling through his newfound emotions as the drugs begin to work and he rediscovers everything he had feared he's lost. This is such a marvelously constructed performance and De Niro, when you consider the competition, really should have walked away with that Oscar.
The supporting cast is also at the top of their game; everyone from John Heard, Ruth Nelson and Penelope Ann Miller delivering memorable performances.
The film is beautifully shot and directed, allowing the audience to really feel invested in all that is going on. Marshall has a tight grip on the story and on our emotional response and she reins us in when needed and lets us loose when necessary. The film has flow, a flow that compliments each scene marvelously.
Be forewarned; while this film has its heartwarming and uplifting moments it is also tragically depressing and heartbreaking. If you are not a crier, or do not like to cry then you may want to stay away from this movie; but if you appreciate a movie that can move you then this is a beautiful example of emotional purity at its finest. The final frames may wreck you, but it may be just what the doctor ordered. It's movies like this that validate our humanity, for if they didn't move us then it may be time to check our pulses....more info
- Very Touchy
This movie deserves much more publicity than this. Both Robert De Niro and Robin Williams are great actors and they both did a great job... you feel their emotions are so close and real.
This type of movie lives with you for days after you watch it. And you just can't stop thinking of it. And what makes it more powerful is that it is a real story. This movie has no special effects at all except for its highly driven emotions.
I truly recommend watching this movie....more info
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