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74

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

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8.7

Universal acclaim- based on 45 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
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: Judy Stone
    88
    Awakenings is a troubling film, but it's also a courageous one that dares to tackle a difficult subject with sensitivity and honesty. [20 Dec 1990, p.E1]
  4. Reviewed by: Staff (Not Credited)
    75
    Awakenings falls into the of traps of sentimentality and audience-pandering. It makes you laugh, cry, and marvel. But it also simplifies and falsifies all kinds of issues, from the intricacies of medical care to the realities of inner-city hospital funding. [7 Feb 1991]
  5. Reviewed by: Desson Howe
    70
    Knee-jerk tears aside, there's nothing tremendously special. It's very watchable, but it doesn't stand out. Which is not to say the film is badly done; it's just decently done.
  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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