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74

Generally favorable reviews - based on 18 Critics What's this?

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8.8

Universal acclaim- based on 57 Ratings

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  • Starring: ,
  • Summary: By opening one man's eyes to the world... he opened his own. A true story of a maverick doctor and the patients whose lives he changes. Dr. Malcolm Sayer, a shy research physician who uses an experimental drug to "awaken" the catatonic victims of a rare disease beginning with Leonard, theBy opening one man's eyes to the world... he opened his own. A true story of a maverick doctor and the patients whose lives he changes. Dr. Malcolm Sayer, a shy research physician who uses an experimental drug to "awaken" the catatonic victims of a rare disease beginning with Leonard, the first patient to receive the controversial treatment. His awakening, filled with awe and enthusiasm, proves a rebirth for Sayer too, as the exuberant patient reveals life's simple but unutterably sweet pleasures to the introverted doctor. Encouraged by Leonard's stunning recovery, Sayer administers the drug to the other patients. The story of their friendship during this emotional journey is a testament to both the tenderness of the human heart and the strength of the human soul. (Sony Pictures) Expand
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Score distribution:
  1. Positive: 14 out of 18
  2. Negative: 0 out of 18
  1. 100
    After seeing Awakenings, I read it, to know more about what happened in that Bronx hospital. What both the movie and the book convey is the immense courage of the patients and the profound experience of their doctors, as in a small way they reexperienced what it means to be born, to open your eyes and discover to your astonishment that "you" are alive.
  2. The director Penny Marshall has gone straight to the heart of this complex story and made a powerfully poignant and illuminating film. She doesn't hesitate to push for the grand sentimental moment, but balances the teary stuff with restraint and humor. To be sure, Awakenings seems calculated to induce weeping -- and it does, without making the weeper feel cheap. [20 Dec 1990, p.A14]
  3. Reviewed by: Jay Carr
    88
    Director Penny Marshall's choreography encompasses emotional as well as physical ebbs and flows. Awakenings lives up to its title. [11 Jan 1991]
  4. And so even if you're held (as I was) by the acting, you may find yourself fighting the film's design. It reflects a certain lack of faith in your audience to take a performance as authentic as De Niro's and reduce it to the level of a glorified reach-out-and-touch-someone commercial.
  5. Reviewed by: Richard Corliss
    70
    For its first hour or so, this upscale heart tugger motors along familiar trails. So ennobling -- and predictable -- in director Penny Marshall's fidgety rendering of a case study by Oliver Sacks. [24 Dec 1990, p.77]
  6. Reviewed by: Staff (Not Credited)
    63
    The script pushes all the expected buttons at all the expected moments, leaving you wondering what could have been achieved with a more rigorous, unsentimental approach.
  7. Reviewed by: Mike Clark
    50
    De Niro's widely praised performance is like the rest of the film: competent, a product of hard work and borderline mechanical. I like much of Awakenings, including several supporting performances - but like Big, it left me just a little cold. [20 Dec 1990, p.5D]

See all 18 Critic Reviews

Score distribution:
  1. Positive: 1 out of 1
  2. Mixed: 0 out of 1
  3. Negative: 0 out of 1
  1. Jul 18, 2014
    10
    Awakenings is a great drama with Deniro and Williams. They give some of their best performances.
    The story is fascinating and the movie will
    Awakenings is a great drama with Deniro and Williams. They give some of their best performances.
    The story is fascinating and the movie will instantly become one of your favourites, A+.
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