The Movie Awakenings

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“People have forgotten what life is all about. They 've forgotten what it is to be alive. They need to be reminded. They need to be reminded of what they have and what they can lose. What I feel is the joy of life, the gift of life, the freedom of life, the wonderment of life!” said Leonard Lowe in the movie Awakenings.
Filmed in 1990, Awakenings is based on the story of Dr. Oliver Stack and a handful of mental institution patients trapped in a catatonic state, unable to reach out to the world around them, and condemned to spend the rest of their life as a prisoner of their own body. While the rest of the institution’s staff members had long given up on them, Dr. Stack felt compelled to do as much as possible to help the patients. He researched
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For him, it 's as if there were thousands of bars and behind the thousands of bars no world. The sure stride of lithe, powerful steps, that around the smallest of circles turns, is like a dance of pure energy about a center, in which a great will stands numbed. Only occasionally, without a sound, do the covers of the eyes slide open-. An image rushes in, goes through the tensed silence of the frame- only to vanish, forever, in the heart.” -- a quote from “The Panther” which Leonard likens to his condition prior to the L-dopa treatment.

Most of the doctors working in the institution refused to believe that the patients were still alive and aware, because, as Dr. Peter Ingham stated in the movie, “The alternative is unthinkable.” Imagine being trapped in your own body, unable to move or cry for help. This is what the victims of this strange disease had to endure for decades, up until the point that they were cured by Levodopa, if only for a short period of time.
Though as the successfulness of L-dopa began to erode, and with it, the patient’s motor skills and their ability to take part in everyday life, many chose to remain on the drug, clinging to a thin thread tethering them to the rest of the physical world. Those who chose to discontinue their use of L-dopa could not have made that decision for themselves had not the drug enabled them to break free from their catatonic
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