“Awakenings” Closes the Robin Williams Film Series Oct.29

The dramatic film, “Awakenings”, will mark the final movie in FOLA’s Robin Williams film at the Heald Auditorium in Ludlow Town Hall on Saturday, Oct. 29 at 7pm.

Robin Williams as Dr. Sayer in the film, “Awakenings”

Awakenings is a 1990 American drama film directed by Penny Marshall. It is written by Steven Zaillian, who based his screenplay on Oliver Sacks’s 1973 memoir Awakenings.  It stars Robin Williams as Dr. Malcolm Sayer and Robert de Niro as Leonard Lowe with Julie Kavner, Ruth Nelson, John Heard, Penelope Ann Miller, Peter Stormare, and Max von Sydow.

In 1969, Dr. Malcolm Sayer is a dedicated and caring physician at a local hospital in the Bronx borough of New York City. After working extensively with the catatonic patients who survived the 1917–1928 epidemic of encephalitis lethargica, Sayer discovers certain stimuli will reach beyond the patients’ respective catatonic states; actions such as catching a ball, hearing familiar music, being called by their name, and enjoying human touch, all have unique effects on particular patients and offer a glimpse into their worlds. Patient Leonard Lowe seems to remain removed, but Sayer learns that Leonard is able to communicate with him by using a Ouija board.

Sayer believes the drug L-Dopa, used in treating Parkinson’s Disease, may offer a breakthrough for his own group of patients. A trial run with Leonard yields astounding results: Leonard completely “awakens” from his catatonic state.

What transpires is the story of how these “awakened” patients react to their new environment.

Nominated for three Academy Awards, “Awakenings” was well-received critically and at the box-office.  Film critic Roger Ebert noted, “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.”

The movie is free to open to everyone; donations are appreciated.  For information, call (802)855-8883 or https://fola.us.