Dr. Oliver Sacks and his vibrant joie de vivre
27 October 2019
Warning: Spoilers
Ric Burns' film relying on 60 hours of interviews with Dr. Sacks in his last months of life results in a genuine, vibrant portrait of Oliver Sacks and his large family of patients, friends, relatives, and medical colleagues.

It is a remarkably honest memoir. Dr. Sacks' does not hide his own struggles in life, true to his statement that "we are all patients." He is also very open about his own depression, drug addiction, and sexual suppression as an stifled homosexual man which is shown in parallel to his infinite capability to care for others, to uplift others despite his own immense struggles.

I love how the movie features raw interview shots with Dr. Sacks, interviews of people who knew and loved him (including Robert Krulwich, Dr. Atul Gawande, and Dr. Temple Grandin) as well as interactions with his patients, which are both solemn and life-instilling.

Though there is a lot of heavy material, there is also a humorous wonderful feel to the movie, indicative of Dr. Sacks' personality. In the same way that people who visited him before his death felt that he had cheered them up and inspired them, the viewers feel uplifted by his love of life and humanity rather than overwhelmed by grief at his terminal sickness.

I think Ric Burns clearly earned the trust of Dr. Sacks and Billy Hayes and the whole Sacks family, which shows his talent as a film director. It's a very well done movie and though it focuses on Oliver Sacks, one gets to also learn some neuro- science and hear about the internal lives of other famous people who interacted with Sacks.
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