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Awakenings 1990

Subtitles

Dr Malcolm Sayer (Robin Williams) is a shy neurologist and keen lover of earthworms and botany who accidentally wins a job at the New York Bainbridge Hospital looking after catatonics. He discovers, through sheer patience, hard work and experimentation, that the patients may be revivable, with one patient (Robert De Niro) responding to treatment after thirty years' 'sleep'.

Starring:
Robert De Niro, Robin Williams
Runtime:
2 hours, 0 minutes

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Product Details

Genres Drama
Director Penny Marshall
Starring Robert De Niro, Robin Williams
Supporting actors Julie Kavner, Ruth Nelson, John Heard, Penelope Ann Miller, Alice Drummond, Judith Malina, Barton Heyman, George Martin, Anne Meara, Richard Libertini, Laura Esterman, Dexter Gordon, Jayne Haynes, Le Clanché du Rand, Yusef Bulos, Steven Randazzo, Gloria Harper, Gwyllum Evans
Studio Sony Pictures International
BBFC rating Suitable for 12 years and over
Captions and subtitles English Details
Purchase rights Stream instantly Details
Format Amazon Video (streaming online video)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: DVD
Awakenings is a little masterpiece of a film, that I discovered late one night while channel surfing. I was immediately taken back by the depth of the film and purchased the DVD for a very low price on Amazon the following day.

The film stars Robert De Niro and Robin Williams and is based on a non-fictional book written by neurologist Oliver Sacks. Awakenings follows Dr Malcolm Sayer who takes up a post at a hospital in New York. The Doctor played perfectly by Robin Williams, discovers some of his patients - who survived the 1916 sleeping sickness epidemic can be helped to awaken from their existence as living statues (Encephalitis) through the use of an experimental drug known as L-Dopa. One patient called Leonard (De Niro) is awoken after being in a coma like state for thirty years. Leonard is transformed into a normal man and even falls in love. Encourage by this Dr Sayer sets about 'awakening' the other patients.

I found the film to be moving and powerful with the ability to make you question how you value the life of others. Awakenings is absorbing and very involving, and you can't help become gripped by the emotion and strength of the story. The acting throughout really is fantastic. Both Robin Williams and Robert De Niro are at their best and offer inspiring and tear jerking performances. Standards from other cast members is also note worthy. Especially the interaction between Leonard and his mother, which is realistic and powerful. The setting of the hospital itself was perfect and seems right.

Beautiful and completely engrossing offering a great and moving ending, it's hard to find anything to fault with Awakenings (other than the lack of special features on the DVD). So if you haven't seen this film I strongly suggest that you purchase it...soon.
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Format: DVD
Robin Williams and Robert DeNiro yet again demonstrate why they are at the top of their profession. This moving, sometimes harrowing, but ever engrossing movie contains some of DeNiro's most sublte and moving work, with Williams complementing him to an equally high standard.
It offers some very poignant reminders about what life is and how even the little little things shouldn't be taken for granted.
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By A Customer on 9 Mar. 2004
Format: DVD
This film is absolutely awesome and tells the story of how the human spirit will always survive. If you are ever feeling a little low about your profession, this will definetely give you another spark to your endeavors and how important it is to be brave with ideas about patient care. In addition it reminds physicians to treat patients as humans for in the end that is what we all are.
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Format: DVD Verified Purchase
I watched "awakenings" because I am trying to watch all of the films that Robin Williams has been in, to be honest I only do this because I am somewhat obsessed with completing collections (not that this particular collection is anywhere near complete, Robin Williams has an awful lot of films).

During my quest to collect all of Robin Williams' work I have gone from an avid fan that truly believed this guy could not be in a bad movie to realising that he defiantly can. But never the less I persevere through his back catalogue and hope that I never again come across stinkers like "seize the day". I was trying to avoid seeing "awakenings" because I thought it was going to be another "seize the day".

First impressions from the poster and the trailer were not looking good I thought that this film looked terrible. But then I noticed that the film is directed by Penny Marshall "I know that name" I thought to myself, so I looked her up. Turns out she was the director of two of my all time favourite films `big' and `jumpin' jack flash' so with a new optimism I popped the dvd in the player and curiously watched as to what Penny Marshall had come up with this time.

Loosely based on a book by real-life neurologist Oliver Sacks, `Awakenings' marked the high point of a successful side career for Sacks as a chronicler of unusual medical case histories.

The film often displays the easy sentimentality typical of director Penny Marshall, which makes you feel quite warm and fuzzy.
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Format: DVD
The late 60s and post encephalitis patients are roused by various doses of the drug L-Dopa. But as the patients try to come to terms with the new and alien life they are brought into, side effects starts to rear its head.

I guess it depends on your emotional state how you absorb Awakenings as a motion picture. There are those that simply believe it's an exercise in currying sentimental favour, whilst others, such as myself, believe stories such as this need to be told. Based on the novel by Oliver Sacks {Malcom Sayer played by Robin Williams} the only real cause for grumble from myself is that sadly, the film fails to fully form the shock and terror these newly roused patients must have felt. The encephalitis epidemic occurred between 1917-1928, these people got old without knowing it. It's briefly touched on with a couple of tender moments, notably thru Alice Drummond's Lucy, but the main focus of the film, perhaps not surprisingly, is the relationship between Williams' Sayer and Robert DeNiro's Leonard Lowe.

DeNiro is on full Oscar baiting tilt here {nominated but lost out to Jeremy Irons for Reversal of Fortune} and it's a magnetic performance, tender and close to heart breaking at times. His interplay with Williams {suitably restrained} is what drives the film on, but as stated prior, at the expense of a fully formed whole. Still, director Penny Marshall and her team have gone the whole hog for the sentimental aspect, is it too forced? yes at times it is, but you would have to have been quarried from granite not to be affected by some scenes, re: a mother son reunion for example. So it's not quite the classic it not only threatened to be, but really should have been. But the central theme of learn and evolve is something that hopefully even the films detractors have taken on board.

Sweet and touching 8/10
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