AWAKENINGS. RECAP FROM LAST CLASS!!!!. BASED ON A TRUE STORY. STORYLINE.
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A new doctor (Robin Williams) finds himself with a ward full of catatonic patients. He is disturbed by them and the fact that they have been catatonic for decades with no hope of any cure. – can we link this to the Freeman? Freeman saw the same thing and wanted to help!
When he finds a possible chemical cure he gets permission to try it on one of them. When the first patient awakes, he is now an adult having gone into a catatonic state in his early teens.
The film then delights in the new awareness of the patients and then on the reactions of their relatives to the changes in the newly awakened.
Before Dr. Sayer began to work with the patients he called them “insubstantial ghosts”. His fellow psychiatrists view the catatonic patients on the ward as though they were just live tissue, and their abilities to move or respond to stimuli as ‘mere reflex’.
Dr. Sayer then found that Leonard has brainwave responses to his own name.
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 thrown at them, hearing familiar music, and experiencing human touch all have unique effects on particular patients and offer a glimpse into their worlds. Leonard Lowe (Robert De Niro) proves elusive in this regard, but Sayer soon discovers that Leonard is able to communicate with him by using a Ouija board.
S: He speaks to you in other ways. How do you mean?
L: You don’t have children.
L: If you did you’d know.
What does Mrs. Lowe understand about Leonard that Dr. Sayer at this point does not? Persons with developmental disabilities sometimes are not able to speak or vocalize their wants, needs, thoughts, etc. in conventional ways. However, they may have just different ways of communicating, and those who know and care for them themselves are able interpreters of their expressed and sometimes unexpressed behaviour.