peteg's blog - noise - movies - 2020 10 27 Awakenings


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Another from Big director Penny Marshall. These movies about mental conditions always need to be approached with caution, and it seems likely that this one didn't do great justice to the raw material provided by Oliver Sacks. Even so there is some genuinely funny stuff early on from Robin Williams ("I'm sorry, if you were right, I would agree with you."). Robert De Niro's performance is challenging; whatever it's technical merits, it doesn't really help. Briefly, some long-term catatonic patients are given a new drug in 1969 and transiently return to sapience.

Janet Maslin wasn't impressed. Roger Ebert was.