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Awakenings
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Reviews & Ratings for
Awakenings More at IMDbPro »

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Index 162 reviews in total 

119 out of 125 people found the following review useful:

A Fascinating and Moving Story

10/10
Author: clawpack from Atlanta
18 February 2005

Awakenings is the most emotionally moving film I have ever seen. It delves deeply into one of the worst human fears, losing the ability to move and function, but it's never forced or manipulative, and there's no heavy-handed message or moral. It's just a fascinating story that's beautifully told.

The acting is as good as you will ever see. Robert DeNiro deftly handles all the emotional and physical challenges of his role, and Robin Williams demonstrates convincingly that he is an actor, not just a comedian. Williams is perhaps a bit too nerdy at first, but he captures perfectly all the hope, fear, exhilaration, and anguish that a doctor in that situation must be experiencing. Awakenings is based on actual people and events, and, to me at least, real events are always more powerful than even the best fiction.

Awakenings had big-name talent and Oscar nominations, but I don't think it ever had a big box office or became a popular video rental. That's a shame. I like escapist fare as much as the next guy, but once in a while, everyone should see a movie that you will remember and think about for a very long time. Awakenings deserves to be at the top of your list of movies to see.

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108 out of 118 people found the following review useful:

Extraordinary Film

10/10
Author: ConnickFan from North Carolina, USA
17 December 1999

This is a stunningly beautiful and profoundly moving journey, and, amazingly, based on a true story. I never tire of watching this movie; it was one of my all-time favorites. DeNiro's performance totally blows me away every time. And Robin Williams is wonderful as Dr. Sayer. Even simply remembering the movie by reading others' reviews here is once again giving me chills and putting tears into my eyes. After seeing this movie I also became a huge fan of Dr. Oliver Sacks' writing and recommend it to anyone, especially those who enjoyed "Awakenings." His case studies are fascinating. An excellent movie. Do yourself a huge favour and see it.

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86 out of 101 people found the following review useful:

BRAVO

10/10
Author: daswitzer from usa
19 July 2000

This is one of the best movies I have ever seen. It tore my heart out more than once and I cried a bucket of tears. I watched it 3 times in a row the first time I rented it. I recommended to others and everyone loved it. I have never admired Robin Williams more in a role. He was fabulous. Robert DeNiro, absolutely blew me away. I love him in all of his roles, but this was superb acting at it's very best. Ruth Nelson as the mother played a heart-wrenching role. Penelope Ann Miller was so sweet. When Leonard's mother walked into his room and he first spoke to her, I actually sobbed. It was beautiful. The saddest part was that this movie was true and Leonard and all of the other patients are in the same condition now that they were then. I only wish that I knew what ever became of all of them. If this story would have been fiction, I would not have enjoyed it half as much. Only true life can be this sad.

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105 out of 140 people found the following review useful:

Can someone please tell me WHY??

10/10
Author: elle55407 from United States
26 February 2005

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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58 out of 62 people found the following review useful:

Robin Williams Should Do Films Like This More Often

Author: soranno from Las Vegas, Nevada
25 October 2002

"Awakenings" is a positively surprising career change of pace for its two leads, Robin Williams and Robert DeNiro. Based on a true story, the film is about the experimental drug invented by Dr. Oliver Sacks (Williams) and how it successfully awakened many paitents from catatonic states which had lasted as long as 30 years. DeNiro gives an especially moving performance as one of the paitents who also turns out to be one of the drug's biggest success stories. It's a real shame how overlooked this film turned out to be for Williams' career. He should be getting praised for his quality dramatic performances in films that matter like this one rather than for his inferior comedies. This film proves that Williams can successfully expand his range and be a great dramatic actor. The same goes for DeNiro and his performance here as well.

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63 out of 75 people found the following review useful:

What An Incredible Story!!

10/10
Author: ccthemovieman-1 from United States
20 March 2006

Here's a good example of how you can still make a great modern-day movie without profanity, violence or sex.

This is an amazing story, based on fact, about about a doctor who makes great progress fighting an illness that heretofore was considered incurable. These were patients in catatonic states, and the good doctor uses an experimental drug to snap these people back to reality and to a normal life as they once had. The patients, and how they react, both before and after the medications, is really fascinating.

Robert De Niro is outstanding as one of the patients, but that's not a surprise knowing all the fine acting performances he's done over the years. Robin Williams, relatively new to dramatic acting when this came out, was also excellent in a very low-key role. Penelope Ann Miller is extremely sweet and appealing. I wish both she and Williams would do more roles like that.

With multiple viewings, I came to appreciate the minor characters in here a lot more, such as De Niro's mother, played by Ruth Nelson, whom I fondly remember in the 1945 film "A Tree Grows In Brooklyn." What a treat is was to see her again and this was just two years before she died. Also, Alice Drummund as the patient known as "Lucy" was notable.

Language-wise, i's almost stunning to watch a movie which has De Niro, Williams, Miller and John Heard and not hear one profane word uttered! (The film isn't perfect, however, as some idiot decided to insert one f-word, and in a totally unnecessary circumstance.)

This is a memorable story and one I guarantee you won't forget because the subject matter is so different.

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54 out of 61 people found the following review useful:

Tearjerker

10/10
Author: poetic_dreams
3 September 2003

Besides when I was a child, I never actually cried during a movie. I've felt the urge to cry during some of them or had tears forming in my eyes, but they never really came out. Before I viewed "Awakenings," "Schindler's List" was the closest one to making me cry. Now, "Awakenings" has done it.

Another great thing about "Awakenings," is that it truly teaches us to appreciate the simple things in life that we take for granted, from taking a walk by yourself or reading a book or even just brushing your teeth.

I don't care what anyone says, both Robin Williams' and Robert DeNiro's performances were excellent and touching. I found this more touching then "Patch Adams." (But I guess "Patch Adams" is more of a Comedy/drama).

Give this great film a try. Grab the Kleenexs during Robert De Niro's first dance.

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48 out of 58 people found the following review useful:

Amazing

10/10
Author: Tito-8 from North Bay, Ontario
13 June 1999

Simply put, this is one of the greatest movies ever. This is easily the most powerful tearjerker that I've ever seen, thanks in large part to the brilliant performances by Williams and De Niro. But to be fair, the whole cast was excellent, and they were helped by a script that was nearly perfect. For me, the scenes with Miller proved to be the most emotional, but really, the whole film was heartwarming or heartbreaking on some level. I don't tend to get emotional when watching movies, but this film managed to find a way into my heart, and I can't possibly recommend this movie enough to those of you who haven't been lucky enough to see it yet.

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38 out of 40 people found the following review useful:

A wonderful and touching film

10/10
Author: gates170 from United States
6 December 2006

It's a tale about a doctor(Robin Williams) taking on a new job in the Bronx. His new patients are something of the unusual. A handful of them share an unexplainable disease. The rare disease has left these people frozen in time. One of his main patients is a man named Leonard Lowe, played by Robert Deniro. Doctor Sayer begins a diligent study. To the present day, there are still many questions surrounding this strange disease. During one amazing season in the late 60's, a miracle happened.

In my opinion, both Robin Williams and Robert Deniro should have won Oscars for this film. I always say that Williams with a beard equals an amazing performance. His role as the meek Dr. Sayer is heartwarming. He plays perfectly off Deniro's character. Robert Deniro is golden as Leonard, the disease afflicted patient that gives all of his consciousness to help Dr. Sayer. With the help of a large dose of medicine and care all the patients and hospital staff have awakenings.

One of the most important words spoken in the film is: LEARN.

This film teaches me to appreciate life a little more every time I see it. It hopefully sends us the message to enjoy life. To love and embrace what we have and perhaps learn not to take the natural joys in life for granted is the message.

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40 out of 47 people found the following review useful:

A great film.

9/10
Author: Peach-2 from Netherlands
16 November 1998

Penny Marshall's Awakenings is a very emotional movie and heartwarming to say the least. Marshall has out done herself with this picture. The movie is a masterpiece. Robin Williams is great and Robert De Niro should have won the Oscar for his performance in this movie. De Niro hits every note perfectly and shows why he is the greatest actor of his generation. The movie is well written by Steven Zaillian and Penny Marshall did a super job. Bring a hankerchief to this one.

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