Uplifting and invigorating, "Awakenings" shows a doctor's persistent appreciation of human life as he maintains hope for a ward of patients turned into human statues by an encephalitis epidemic in the 1920s. Overcoming resistance to the medical status-quo's inertia, the new young doctor, Dr. Malcolm Sayer (Williams) tries a new drug, L-dopa, on patient Leonard Lowe (De Niro), who awakens to the wonder of life after a 30-year catatonic sleep. Sayer is able to revive many of the patients, but only for awhile; the cure doesn't last. Based on Dr. Oliver Sacks's 1973 nonfiction book by the same name, this 1990 film directed by Penny Marshall is solid and moving.
Oliver Sacks and Steven Zaillian
Robin Williams, Robert DiNiro
Patients recover comas
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