Review by Jessica Brandt
I still don't know what to make of Robin Williams (see a previous review
where I was confused on my feelings about Christina Ricci). I see him on
various talk show interviews acting like a child hyped up on rock candy,
and wonder if I should feel the same way about him as I do Adam Sandler
(that feeling is "Get a new act, loser") or if I should feel "Damn, that
guy is funny and the originator of such an act". I think the later should
In any case, Robin Williams is the absolute perfect actor for this role as
an utterly hilarious doctor who cares about the patients as people, rather
as "illnesses." I was in total belief that Williams himself was a doctor in
real life, and that held this same attitude. Also, the fact that the real
Dr. Adams was in a mental institution before going on to be successful
sounded fitting for Williams, who probably should have been
institutionalized before becoming an actor.
The movie plods along somewhat, while story lines are being formed, but
that can be expected from a true-story adaptation. Williams' interaction
with patients will melt your heart as well as keep you entertained.
Somewhat unbelieveable, and predictable, is that Williams goes to med
school as an older student, meets a very very beautiful college-aged girl
(Monica Potter) and they fall in love through his wittiness. Yeah!
The plot is that Patch Adams is a man who felt he was suicidal and admitted
himself to a mental institution, where he finds his calling in life: he
realized that he wants to, and CAN, help sick people through love. He then
gets out of the institution and goes to med school, where he meets said
girl and a best friend and a mean roommate, reaks havoc, nearly gets kicked
out a few times, cries to the dean, and ends up...well he either graduates
or doesn't. I won't tell. But during the course of his 3 years of school,
he tries to change peoples' views on medicine and healing, works with some
patients, and begins work on his huge dream-- a free hospital in rural West
Virginia. Everyone in the medical profession is against him, there's a
trial, we all sweat it out.
Of course, there's the dorky friend and convert-ee, played believeably by
Daniel London, and the hardcore "everyone in my family is a doctor"
roommate played by Philip Seymour Hoffman (Remember Scotty from Boogie
Nights? That's him! Very scary guy) who eventually turns soft in the
As with most Robin Williams movies, you're going to laugh a lot, and cry a
lot more. Bring a tissue (you know the rule...movies that have sick kids =
bring a tissue). The movie drags on a little in the middle, until a really
unexpected plot twist towards the end snaps you right back to attention.
You can't help but like Robin Williams these days, and the truthfulness of
the story and the whole idea of what the real Path Adams is trying to do
will melt your heart.
In real life, Dr. Patch Adams is trying to set up a free 40-bed hospital in
rural West Virginia. The movie explains it more, and it sounds like a good
idea to me. If you want to learn more about this great hospital, see the
movie, and also visit The Gesundheit!
Institute website and maybe even give a tax-deductable donation to this
(Out of five)