‘Three Christs,’ Schizophrenia & Us

One does not have to go that far back in cinema to find another film besides Jon Avnet’s newly released Three Christs that is based on medical case history. There is, for example, Penny Marshall’s Awakenings (1990), which finds its source in Oliver Sacks’s 1973 account of the application of L-dopa, a then-recently formulated medication, in the treatment of patients with irremediable encephalitis.

Sacks’s original narrative, in the book called Awakenings, is a significant literary achievement, and one that brought new awareness to the role that humanism, as a discipline, could play in the study of neurology. The book was so good, so memorable, so powerfully moving, that it helped spawn an entire literary career for Sacks, who went on to write such classics as Migraine, The Man Who Mistook His Wife For a Hat, Gratitude, and other excellent popular accounts of neurology, general medicine, his own life, and so on.

The New York Review of Books