The Awakenings

August 21, 2008
By Jessica Serrato, Millbrae, CA

At first glance, many theatrical and literary works appear to have a “bad ending” and leave the audience disillusioned. However, after contemplating the true art, the conclusion may give more aesthetic pleasure than any frivolous “happily ever after” ending. One movie with an apparent depressing ending, but was truly uplifting is “The Awakenings.” The protagonist, Leonard, is an infirmed individual who a brilliant Dr Sayer awakens from a coma. When Leonard’s degenerative disease claims his freedom and he slips back into a vegetative state, the outcome seems dismal. However, through Leonard’s awakening, Dr Sayer and his staff appreciate Leonard’s intrinsic value as a human being rather than just a subject. Dr. Sayer continues to interact with his friend, even when it means reverting back to communicating through the ouija board. In his time with Leonard, Dr. Sayer comes to realize that “[Leonard] speaks to you in other ways…” Clearly in the end, Leonard has taught his caretakers a wonderful lesson. His amazing spirit to seize the day transforms Dr. Sayer from an introverted lonely researcher to a caring person. In the end, Leonard has enlightened the hospital staff that “work, play, friendship [and] family… are the things that matter…the simplest things”.

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