Review: Oliver Sacks: His Own Life

There are rare people who live in such a way as to strike others as perhaps not being quite human. They are so much larger than life, as the cliché goes, that one has to wonder if there isn’t some outlet they are hiding somewhere on themselves where they plug in at night and receive a surge of superhuman power the rest of us lack. Oliver Sacks was just such a person and his superpower was observation. Not just any observation, but so intense and so compassionate that animal rights activist Temple Grandin describes it as being as formidable as the Hubble telescope. His powers of perception were matched by his way with words so that humanity has been graced with a unique window into the uncharted waters of the human psyche from his many books and essays. He was a pioneer of recognizing that mental illness and mental disorders do not define a human life but simply characterize limits that they often find ways to rise above. In the 1960’s when he first started his work as a neurologist, this was an extremely radical thought. This documentary by Ric Burns does not shy away from depicting its subject in all of his iconoclastic glory. Continue reading Review: Oliver Sacks: His Own Life