1969. Dr Malcolm Sayer (Robin Williams) takes up a post at Bainbridge Hospital, New York. Among his patients, he discovers a group of forgotten survivors of the 1916 Sleeping Sickness epidemic - a virus that turned its victims into living statues. He is particularly drawn to one of these victims, Leonard Lowe (Robert De Niro). With a new experimental drug, Dr Sayer discovers a vital key to 'awakening' Leonard and the others to the joys and pains of living, whilst awakening in himself long dormant capacities for love and friendship. Inspirational and critically acclaimed, 'Awakenings' is based on a true and haunting story.
Oliver Sacks (book) Steven Zaillian (screenplay)
Robert De Niro (Leonard Lowe); Robin Williams (Dr. Malcolm Sayer); Julie Kavner (Eleanor Costello); Ruth Nelson (Mrs. Lowe); John Heard (Dr. Kaufman); Penelope Ann Miller (Paula); Alice Drummond (Lucy); Judith Malina (Rose); Barton Heyman (Bert); George Martin (Frank); Anne Meara (Miriam); Richard Libertini (Sidney); Laura Esterman (Lolly); Dexter Gordon (Rolando); Jayne Haynes (Frances); Le Clanché du Rand (Magda - as Le Clanche Du Rand); Yusef Bulos (Joseph); Steven Randazzo (Luis - as Steve Randazzo); Gloria Harper (Dottie); Gwyllum Evans (Desmond). Please contact SFC to add other cast members and characters.
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Never Give up Hope
Mark Banks (United Kingdom)
Awakenings tells an incredible and inspiring story of hope, disappointment and the search for the truth in life. I found it hard to accept at first that patients that were once in such an incapacitated state could be brought back to full consciousness and functionality with the aid of medicine and therapeutic techniques, but that's exactly what happens, and it's one of many reasons for never giving up hope with such people. The film does a good job in conveying the message that life should be respected and sanctified no matter what state somebody is in; regardless of whether they are fully functional in an able-bodied sense or not. Awakenings also highlights the risks of a doctor wanting to play God and wanting to find answers to his own life problems through seeking success in his professional life, as opposed facing up to the real issues and seeking solutions in his own personal life. Another commendable, down-to-earth and inspiring performance is turned in my Robin Williams once more.