Dave’s 3-Word Review:
Laughter = Best Medicine.
In my quest to find the best Robin Williams film since his recent passing, I think I may have found a prime candidate. The thing that’s really interesting about Patch Adams is that it stars two celebrities of recent passing – Williams and Philip Seymour Hoffman, and watching it back again shows not only their impressive ability to act, but it also showcases something that’s almost haunting…then again, that’s probably just my subconscious speaking. As a film, Patch Adams has everything you could ask for in terms of Robin Williams, which brings me to the conclusion that this is definitely one of Williams best works.
This film centers on the true story of Dr. Hunter (Patch) Adams, played by comedic legend Robin Williams. After a failed…suicide attempt…Patch finds his calling in life – to help people through smiles and lightened spirits. His basic idea of being a doctor isn’t only to delay death, but to improve the quality of life. He does this through making patients smile, which is threatening to “professional” doctors that are trying to do their job. The more he tries to listen to patients and make them laugh, the more his colleagues begin to believe he doesn’t take medicine seriously, and instead is making a mockery of their established principles.
I’m not always the biggest fan of “true story” films. They either follow a structure I don’t care about in film, or are so loosely based on a true story that it doesn’t matter anyways – and Patch Adams is a film I more or less find an exception with, because Robin Williams fit this role so perfectly. It’s hard to imagine anyone else being Patch Adams, because the mannerisms and affect he had on others lives, let alone the love he felt for others mirrors Robin’s own life. The only real difference is Robin is an actor while Patch is a doctor.
It also poses some really good points that are still valid today. Primarily speaking, the indifference that hospitals can possess when dealing with people in need. They follow rules and procedures so much that some people are turned away for not having health insurance – and those people are often the people that need help the most. This issue has been raised before, and sometimes the main focus of other movies and documentaries, but because this film was about a lot of different things, short and sweet was the way to go. It’s kind of ridiculous to think that Patch Adams would pose a threat to anyone or anything, and the idea that the real man went through all that garbage is ridiculous.
Like any true story, the structure is basically – follow this guy around and experience his life with him. That’s great, but it’s not my preferred film type. I like something where I know where it’s going, where there’s a set plot. Patch Adams follows a more solid plot than most true stories, though. You know what he’s trying to do – he’s trying to be a real doctor while practicing his own methods at the same time. That’s a true story that I can appreciate. Plus, there’s plenty of great messages of hopes and dreams that you can eat right up.
Patch Adams is clearly one of Robin Williams’ best films. His portrayal of the real doctor are absolutely perfect, and the messages presented are heartwarming and still important to this day. Another thing I like about this movie is that it’s not really a comedy, it’s a drama about a comedic guy – and the balance is really nice.
Seriously, Rotten Tomatoes? 23%…? You know what movie I consider that bad? The Number 23 and The House and the End of the Street.