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Based on 18 Reviews
critic reviews (10)
fan reviews ( 1 )
  • 88
    San Francisco Chronicle

    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] show more

  • 50
    Mike Clark USA Today

    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] show more

  • 90
    Julie Salamon Wall Street Journal

    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] show more

  • 100
    Roger Ebert Chicago Sun-Times

    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. show more

  • 88
    Jay Carr Boston Globe

    Director Penny Marshall's choreography encompasses emotional as well as physical ebbs and flows. Awakenings lives up to its title. [11 Jan 1991] show more

  • 88
    Jay Scott The Globe and Mail (Toronto)

    Marshall elicits performances from Williams and De Niro that are exceptional. Awakenings is a small, simple movie about a large, complex issue, the waste of human opportunity. [19 Dec 1990, p.C1] show more

  • 63
    TV Guide

    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. show more

  • 50
    Dave Kehr Chicago Tribune

    Awakenings is a film that unquestionably succeeds on its own terms, though those terms are deeply suspect. It is a canny piece of false art, one that consistently swaps meaning for superficial effect. [20 Dec 1990, p.1] show more

  • 60

    Plucks at the heart-strings in a far too push-button way. show more

  • 100
    William Arnold Seattle Post-Intelligencer

    Awakenings, directed by Penny Marshall, is a curiously engaging, genuinely haunting movie that rises above some dubious handicapped jokes and strange casting decisions to be truly special. [11 Jan 1991, p.5] show more

  • July 31, 2008 Sweetrose
    Report This User

    WIlliams plays roles in slapstick and humor,but this is a more serious challenge for him; As Dr. Sayer,he plays someone willing to help his patients enjoy a healthier life.DiNiro plays Leonard Lowe,who is desperate for a way to stop his shaking all over;WhenSayer tries various formulas and changes to the patients' medication,he notices things don't go right.I enjoy this film, because it portrays a medical hero who is a champion for all people.

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