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Based on a true story as related by neurologist Oliver Sacks, Awakenings stars Robin Williams as the Sacks counterpart, here named Dr. Malcolm Sayer. Something of a klutz and naif, Dr. Sayer takes a job at a Bronx psychiatric hospital in 1969. Here he's put in charge of several seemingly catatonic patients who, under Sayer's painstaking guidance, begin responding to certain stimulati. Apprised of the efficacy of a new drug called L-DOPA in treating degenerative-disease victims, Sayer is given permission to test the drug on one of his patients: Leonard Lowe (Robert De Niro), who has not… More

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Rotten Tomatoes Score: 88%

Critic Reviews from Rotten Tomatoes

"Williams gives his best "straight" performance, shorn of all his marvelous manic vaudeville. The man he plays here is not a performer, which he was even in Dead Poets Society, but simply a man."
‑ Stanley Kauffmann, The New Republic
"Nonfunny Robin Williams role in moving story."
‑ Nell Minow, Common Sense Media
"Tour-de-force performances and one memorable storyline"
‑ Clint Morris, Moviehole
"Solid medical drama. Williams is terrific in a straight role."
‑ Dan Lybarger, Nitrate Online
"The beginning of Robin Williams' belief that being 'nice' equals cinematic brilliance. A mixed bag that received more acclaim than it should have."
‑ Oz, Hollywood Bitchslap
"a curiously-underloved film... Awakenings will get a re-evaluation in the wake of Williams' passing, and that's great. It's just a tragedy it took a tragedy to precipitate it."
‑ Simon Miraudo, Quickflix
"A beautifully moving, life-affirming true story."
‑ Chuck O'Leary,
"I remember this film, which I saw 13 years ago, as a squishy article redeemed by two strong performances; I am not inclined to go back for a second opinion."
‑ Nick Davis, Nick's Flick Picks
"Utter goo."
‑ Ken Hanke, Mountain Xpress (Asheville, NC)
"A decent film that thinks it's more important than it actually is."
‑ Rob Vaux, Flipside Movie Emporium
"Maybe life affirming, but hardly life-changing."
‑ Rob Humanick, Projection Booth
"A potentially intriguing story, based on the actual experiences of Dr. Sacks, gets a characteristically middling, sentimental and uplifting from director Penny Marshall."
‑ Emanuel Levy, EmanuelLevy.Com
"Moving and over-sentimental - but Marshall's best film."
‑ Rich Cline, Shadows on the Wall
"Moving and well-acted."
‑ Widgett Walls,
"Pitch-perfect performances rescue a potentially melodramatic affair."
‑ Scott Weinberg,
More reviews for Awakenings on Rotten Tomatoes

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