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
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Dr. Peter Ingham:
Most died during the acute stage of the illness, during a sleep so deep they couldn't be roused. A sleep that in most cases lasted several months. Those who survived, who awoke, seemed fine, as though nothing had happened. Years went by - five, ten, fifteen - before anyone suspected they were not well... they were not. I began to see them in the early 1930's - old people brought in by their children, young people brought in by their parents - all of them complaining they weren't themselves ...
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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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