1969. Dr. Malcolm Sayer is hired as a clinical physician at a psychiatric hospital in the Bronx, despite he only having a research background. The job is not ideal on his side as he has difficulties relating to people which is the reason he has focused on research projects not involving human subjects, while the hospital hires him somewhat out of desperation in not finding anyone else with the qualifications who wants the job. Most of his patients are in a semi-catatonic state and are housed in what some of the orderlies coin the "garden" ward, where all they can do for the patients is water and feed them. He notices that some of the patients, despite their generally catatonic state, respond in unusual ways to certain stimuli. In doing some research, he also finds that some common bonds between these patients are that they suffered from encephalitis in the 1920s or 1930s, and that their physical states are like they have Parkinson's disease frozen in time. As such, he is able to ... Written by
Anton Furst's work on this film was inspired by the works of famous photographer Diane Arbus: "I'm putting these characters in an uncomplicated background, in a big spatial void, but isolating them." See more »
When Nurse Costello approaches Nurses Margaret and Beth, Margaret says, "The patients have all been given their morning medication." The program the nurses are watching is "Days Of Our Lives," which in 1969 was broadcast at 2PM in NYC; well into the afternoon. See more »
Dr Malcolm Sayer:
What we do know is that, as the chemical window closed, another awakening took place; that the human spirit is more powerful than any drug - and THAT is what needs to be nourished: with work, play, friendship, family. THESE are the things that matter. This is what we'd forgotten - the simplest things.
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Can someone please tell me WHY Penny Marshall never received an Academy Award nomination for this? This is an excellent movie. A truly great film. My opinion? DeNiro's best role to date. He was superb. While I loved "Schindler's List," I think DeNiro's role by far out muscled Liam Neeson as an Oscar contender. (No disrespect to Neeson intended.) But I'm still disappointed over that one.
Robin Williams was wonderful, as well. As was Julie Kavner. Can't believe we never saw much of her after this role. She's a definite talent. Excellent casting by Marshall.
For anyone out there who hasn't seen it, RUSH to your video store TODAY! It's truly one of those "Don't Miss" films. It will definitely give you some life perspective.
As for Ms. Marshall - I believe one of these days, we are going to be seeing an Oscar with her name on it. "Best Director!" She gives all women in film something to strive for.
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