A Doctor's Story (1984)
A Doctor's Dedication
When you get to my age you get use to people looking right through you - Harry
Despite his age Harry Wickes (Art Carney - The Night They Saved Christmas) is fiercely independent but is becoming increasingly cantankerous and forgetful which is why his son Peter (Charles Kimbrough) is determined for him to go into a retirement home. But Harry's condition is much worse than he realises with Harry getting confused when in shops, thinking he owns them whilst also not recognizing his son and daughter in law. It is how Harry ends up in AE when he is knocked over trying to run from his son having not recognized him when he called out his name. It is also how Harry comes to the attention of Dr. Zack Williams (Howard E. Rollins Jr. - With Murder in Mind) a dedicated physician who doesn't believe that Harry is going senile. But his dedication to helping Harry and his other patients comes at a cost as his marriage starts to suffer.
Maybe I am going soft as I grow older but where once all I wanted to watch was action packed blockbusters I now find more joy in discovering a touching old movie which has seemingly been forgotten about. As such when I stumbled across "A Doctor's Story" a medical drama from the 1980s I had a sneaky suspicion that this was a movie which would tick the boxes in what I enjoy now and it did. It is a touching story of dedication and compassion, about a doctor who cares for his patients and goes above and beyond the call of duty to help them and show them the respect they deserve.
Now I will be the first to admit that "A Doctor's Story" has its problems, some of the supporting acting is weak whilst it is also a very sentimental movie but it has a good heart. That good heart presents itself straight away when we meet Harry so brilliantly played by Art Carney as he makes him cantankerous, forgetful but insightful and the sort of character who whilst amusing you feel for when he gets forgetful and confused. In many ways Harry is a cliche character but when he is so brilliantly portrayed the cliche bits don't matter.
That good heart continues when we meet Zack as he shows a great deal of respect and understanding when dealing with Harry who in a blink of an eye goes from normal to confused. It is not just the treatment of Harry who makes us like him as his compassion to other patients such as a holocaust survivor who feels suicidal makes us side with him despite the fact that it is very apparent he is neglecting his family because of his dedication to the job. Again it is a cliche good hearted doctor character but Howard E. Rollins Jr. brings so much compassion to the character that again the cliche isn't an issue.
What this all boils down to is that "A Doctor's Story" is both sentimental and cliche and frankly not overly realistic. But it has a good heart and features fantastic performances which make it touching and very watchable.
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