Oliver Sacks 'His Own Life' trailer

Trailer for Oliver Sacks: His Own Life Promises an Intimate Look at the Legendary Neurologist

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British neurologist and best-selling author Dr. Oliver Sacks died in 2015, leaving fans of his work and many books on “the brain’s quirks” in mourning. Now an upcoming documentary film, Oliver Sacks: His Own Life, will explore the origins and career of the brilliant, eccentric, and sometimes-controversial man who called the brain “the most incredible thing in the universe” and was the first to tell many of its stories.

Sacks was famous for books like The Man Who Mistook His Wife for a Hat, Hallucinations, The Island of the Colorblind, An Anthropologist on Mars, Musicophilia: Tales of Music and the Brain, and many more. He explored fascinating case histories of his patients and a wide array of neurological disorders, bringing mainstream attention and understanding to both widely known and unknown conditions. As Oliver Sacks: His Own Life describes, Sacks “was a fearless explorer of unknown cognitive worlds who helped redefine our understanding of the brain and mind, the diversity of human experience, and our shared humanity.”

The boundary-pushing Sacks was quite the character, and not without critics of his books and undertakings. His Own Life features exclusive interviews with Sacks begun just weeks after he received a terminal cancer diagnosis, as well as in the months before his death. In his own words, Sacks shares “intimate details of his battles with drug addiction, homophobia, and a medical establishment that accepted his work only decades after the fact.” Dozens of additional “deeply revealing” interviews with his friends, family, colleagues, and patients will help flesh out the full picture. It looks like the film will be unafraid to shy away from controversy, including the criticism Sacks received from some medical and disability studies communities, and will provide a deep dive into the doctor’s personal history.

As someone long interested in Sacks and his storied career, I can’t wait to see what His Own Life has in store.

OLIVER SACKS: HIS OWN LIFE will premiere nationwide on the virtual cinema platform Kino Marquee and Film Forum virtual cinema on September 23, 2020.

(image: Zeitgeist, Steeplechase Films)

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Kaila Hale-Stern
Kaila Hale-Stern (she/her) is a content director, editor, and writer who has been working in digital media for more than fifteen years. She started at TMS in 2016. She loves to write about TV—especially science fiction, fantasy, and mystery shows—and movies, with an emphasis on Marvel. Talk to her about fandom, queer representation, and Captain Kirk. Kaila has written for io9, Gizmodo, New York Magazine, The Awl, Wired, Cosmopolitan, and once published a Harlequin novel you'll never find.