Director: Ric Burns
United States
114 minutes
Unclassified 15+

“A scientific navigator of the soul”

On receiving his fatal diagnosis prior to his death in 2015, Oliver Sacks, the renowned author of Awakenings and The Man Who Mistook His Wife for a Hat, threw himself into this project in order to make sense of the wild diversity of his life in his characteristically fearless, humanist fashion. Sacks arguably did more than anybody in recent memory to reconcile science and storytelling, biology and biography, the theories of neuroscience and the clinical empathy so necessary for dealing with patients. Drawing on his personal archive, we follow Sacks from his childhood in England through his move to the US. He contained multitudes: weightlifter, motorbiker, speed-freak, musician, painfully shy gay man, ground-breaking clinician, and best-selling author. This documentary packs a big emotional punch in its joyful celebration of one of the extraordinary figures of our time.

“a portrait at once tender and thrilling, a movie that presents us with a man who led an eccentrically defiant, at times reckless existence that was the furthest thing from cunningly planned. He was a wanderer in the body of a clinician, like Jack Kerouac crossed with Jonas Salk. He was that rare if not unique thing, a scientific navigator of the soul.” (Variety)

Film Type Documentary
Program Strand Queer as Film
Language English
Director Ric Burns
Producer Leigh Howell, Bonnie Lafave, Kathryn Clinard
Cinematographer Buddy Squires
Editor Li-Shin Yu, Tom Patterson, Chih Hsuan Liang
Music Brian Keane
Genre Biographical, Gay/Lesbian, Science