Adams’ thoughts on the Robin Williams movie
Robin Williams’ talent brought each of his characters to life, starting with his breakthrough role as Adrian Cronauer in the 1987 film good morning vietnam. A decade later, Williams starred in another true story about a doctor and founder of Gesundheit! Institute, Patch Adams. Many may even recognize the film by a single image of Williams with a red clown nose. But at the same time Adams crest was a massive box office hit, it actually didn’t do well with critics.
Adams crest only managed a miniscule 22% on rotten tomatoes, and famed film critic Roger Ebert only gave it a measly 1.5 stars. Ebert didn’t hold back and said the film made him want to “spray the screen with Lysol”. But the criticism didn’t stop there, as even the real Patch Adams agreed with the critics. But what made the doctor have such strong feelings against a movie about him?
The start of Adams crest presented Patch to a mental institution due to his suicidal thoughts. The institution was where he learned to implement humor into his treatment practices and found inspiration to study medicine at the Medical College of Virginia. But doctors, especially Dean Walcott, disagreed with Patch’s friendly bedside approach. And that, combined with his frequent jokes, resulted in Patch being expelled.
While at college, Patch developed a relationship with fellow medical student Carin Fisher (played by Monica Potter), who starred opposite Nicolas Cage in Air conditioning. The duo found Gesundheit! Institute and an old chalet transformed into a free clinic. Unfortunately, a troubled patient murdered Carin before later committing suicide. Guilt filled Patch after Carin’s death, and the compassionate doctor was hit with another bombshell when Walcott tried to shut down the clinic. Fortunately, he managed to avoid the shutdown and graduated from medical school.
However, the real Patch Adams was far from thrilled when his life after seeing how his life adapted to the big screen. Thankfully, her disappointment wasn’t with Williams, and Adams praised her portrayal in the heartwarming biopic. After Williams passed away in 2014, Adams even thanked him and spoke of the actor’s compassion. Adams’ qualms with the image were more about how his image was inaccurately portrayed on screen, with the focus being more on his humor and less on his activism.
Despite the differences, however, some aspects of Adams’ real-life romance with his wife Linda were included in the film. And the real doctor always helps direct the real Gesundheit! Institute, just like its cinematic counterpart. So while the movie may not have been Adam’s real cup of tea, there are still positives to be had from the situation.
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