- Director: Ric Burns
- Producer: Kathryn Clinard; Leigh Howell; Bonnie Lafave
Who knew the sacrifices Oliver Sacks made for his profession? This is a monumentally moving portrait of a polite, gentle giant.
This is his own obituary, these are his last months...Ric Burns was given an honor and has delivered a dignified film of a dignified man...who spent much of his life...misunderstanding and, being misunderstood. Dr Sacks died - aged 82 - on 30 August 2015, he knew he was dying...with his final wish being...to share his story. The question is: Is his story worth sharing?
His life has become [even] more remarkable with the generosity of his startling truth. Depression, obsession, addiction and celibacy...all featured prominently in his life. Yet...his propensity for empathy, to care, to understand the misunderstood...like, the man who mistook his wife for a hat...was unconditional and unwavering.
Ask yourself this question: Would you be prepared to give up love and sex for your profession? Dr Sacks did, for over 30 years, he abstained. He was - for most of his life - a non-practicing gay man...because, he did not want his sexuality to be misconstrued malignantly and used [by idiots] to attack him and his career...those in the [catholic] clergy should take note...and, Dr Sacks did not swear an oath!
Acceptance was always an issue...being jewish, being gay, being clever...being himself, singled him out. Even the medical profession doubted and decried him. But...bit-by-bit, he won them over...and, more importantly, he won himself over...finding love [and sex] when he was in his 70s. How lovely.
Hopefully, he died a happier man. He left behind a formidable legacy and achieved his final wish...it' has been an absolute [and emotional] pleasure...hearing your story. Thank you.
Most people know neurologist Dr. Oliver Sacks as the bestselling author who made the science of the brain fascinating for the masses. But Sacks’ life was so much richer — and more challenging — than that short bio suggests, as director Ric Burns masterfully uncovers in this insightful and moving documentary. Spun from 80 hours of interviews with Sacks conducted after a cancer diagnosis left him with only months to live, and supplemented by archival footage and commentary from his friends, colleagues and patients, the film gets at the heart of Sacks’ extraordinary time on earth. Amiable, warm and engaging, Sacks is his own best witness to a life beset by struggle with his sexuality and in gaining the respect of a skeptical medical establishment, but also one of breakthroughs and triumphs, personal as well as professional. Oliver Sacks: His Own Life is a rich, engaging testament to a giant of our age who reveals himself as achingly, vulnerably human.