“Awakenings” – Penny Marshall, 1990


If you look at the cast, the accolades of this film, and the premises of the story, one must wonder why Penny Marshall´s “Awekenings” somehow got completely lost in the cinematic conscience. It is based on a book by British Neurologist and Antropologist Oliver Sachs, and focuses on a extraordinary case of mental illness.
Leonard Lowe (De Niro) suddenly stops to talk – at all. No one really knows why, and what happened to him, until Dr. Malcom Sayer (Robin Williams), an innovative and senistive doctor, finds a way to treat his illness; with empathy, patience, – and successfully.

“Awakenings” is a quite unusual film about the “miracles of life” and the value of humanism, all based on a true event. Robin Williams, in one of his “serious” roles, gives a very strong and convincing performance, while De Niro shines in a typical De Niro-role as outsider. “Awakenings”, however, can easily be qualified as one of the sadly “forgotten films of the 1990´s”.