With the Tom Hanks family comedy Big, Penny Marshall became the first female film director to release a film which made over $100m at the US box office in 1988. Using her Golden Globe nominated skills as an actress to her advantage; she ensured that her next film would be a tear-jerking drama reinforced with award-worthy acting.
Only her third time on the director's chair, Awakenings was a brilliantly realised drama which cast Robin Williams as a hopeful doctor who pushes a new wonderdrug which holds the ability to waking up catatonic patients, only to discover that after decades of being asleep they cant deal with the modern world. With one patient played by Robert De Niro, Awakenings became a huge critical success, proving Marshalls ability at both hit comedies and heartfelt dramas.
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