Awakenings (1990)

Based on a TRUE STORY, this movie was an eye-opener for me in various aspects… It gave light to seeing the world in a different perspective…through the eyes of the patients.

Awakenings – Movie Trailer 1990 


Needless to say, I cried countless times throughout the movie, but the part which I teared up the most was the scene where Leonard knew that his sickness will relapse and how he, with the support and encouragement from the staff and other patients, struggled against it.

There just so many things which I want to discuss, but to keep this blog short and sweet I will look into one aspect which I find is the most worthwhile for me to reflect on.


Putting myself in the patients’ shoes, how would I react if I am told that I have been ‘asleep’ for the past 30 years of my life?



That would be my first response.

DISBELIEF and SHOCKED at the fact that I have been asleep for soooo long.

I would be DEVASTATED to find out that perhaps, some of my loved ones have passed on… I would mourn for days…weeks…maybe even months.

Nevertheless, once everything has settled down, and when I have grown to accept the reality that I am now an old lady, I would REJOICE that at least now I am well and very much alive (though old) to experience the life that I had missed out. And yes, I think I would celebrate as how the patients celebrated.

And what’s this? The ‘recovery’ is temporary?? I am feeling better and better day-by-day and now you’re telling me that I will go back to be a mindless being again??

That would be a massive blow to me! My stomach would drop as though I bungee jumped into a cave that is 50 times the depth of the Grand Canyon.

Wouldn’t it be better if I’d never woken up at all? Isn’t it better to not be aware that so much time had been lost, only to find out that everything will be taken back from you again?

Wow… I simply can’t imagine how that must really have felt like… I can speculate and assume how I would react… but I can never truly claim that I will react the same way I predicted when I am really experiencing it.

One thing I can say, is that I admire the COURAGE and GRATITUDE shown by the patients in facing something so tragic. I only hope that if I am ever faced with a similar scenario, I would possess the same qualities as they have shown, so many years ago.

Robin Williams as (fictional) Dr. Malcolm Sayer

The REAL Dr. Oliver Sacks (author & neurologist)

“Leonard and the patients have taught us, normal, healthy people, that we, indeed, have been taking many things for granted. They reminded me how important it is to treasure each and every moment…regardless of good or bad… Why despair when bad things happened to you when it is proof that you are very much alive, to be able to be aware of it…”

(Tay, 2012)

Dr. Oliver Sacks with one of the patients from "Awakenings"

I would DEFINITELY recommend this movie to EVERYONE!!!!


For more information about Oliver Sacks:

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