Friday, August 15, 2014

Mrs. Doubtfire (Chris Columbus, 1998) Review

I woke up this morning feeling the most tired I had ever been. I could barely coordinate and just crashed in a heap on the sofa. After a two hour nap, I woke up to find Sky Movies playing a few Robin Williams films. Naturally I chose Aladdin as it is one of my favourite films but after it finished, I decided to rewatch Mrs. Doubtfire, another one of Williams' classics. It seems only fitting to take a look at this after his death so let's take a look at Mrs. Doubtfire.

Daniel Hilard (Robin Williams) is an eccentric yet caring father of three who works as a voice actor. Despite his love for his kids, his wife Miranda (Sally Field) sees him as a bad role model. After Daniel throws an extravagant yet disastrous birthday party, Miranda official has enough and files for divorce. Miranda is given custody of the kids, leaving Daniel heartbroken and desperate. He learns that Miranda is looking for a housekeeper which gives Daniel the idea of taking on the persona of Mrs. Doubtfire, an elderly Scottish nanny. Daniel now has to balance his life as Mrs. Doubtfire as well as his real work after quitting his voice acting gig.

We all know that Robin Williams is a very versatile actor and Mrs. Doubtfire is definetly one of the best examples of that. While Daniel is clearly just Robin being himself (right down to his job having him to a plenitude of voices) however he gets away with dressing up as Doubtfire herself. Considering that he managed to use the disguise to fool people off set, his performance combined with the wonderful make-up job makes for a lovable and unique character. Robin Williams does stand up above the rest of the cast however I can't put the others down. Sally Field delivers a solid performance as does Pierce Brosnan however the rest aren't as memorable. Mara Wilson is only worth nothing because...she's Mara Wilson although she has done better now (it was her first film. I can't be that harsh). Also Terry McGovern makes a cameo so...that's cool (not that you'd you know who he is).

On the surface, one could very easily brush this film off as a "silly". That's only on a surface level. Deep down, this is a very heartwarming comedy. Mrs. Doubtfire knows when to be charming and eccentric as well as balance the serious scenes. One of my big complains, however, is that the ending is very sudden. There was much more that could've been developed as you could argue that it was built up enough. It's at least satisfying so there's that but sometimes that just isn't enough. On the other hand, the comedy is so well done, especially combined with sincere and heartwarming moments. I guess it's two steps forward, one step back.

Mrs. Doubtfire is often up there in top Robin Williams films and there are reasons why. He is delightful in the role and show his diversity (one scene only existing just for him to throw voices out) however this means he stands very high above the rest of the cast who try to deliver solid performances but, let's face it, we're just here for Williams. The plot itself does have one or two problems with the main one being how quick the ending actually is. I plan on reviewing more Robin Williams films in the future but, for now, we can just let him rest in peace.

Delightful, heartwarming and filled with charm and wit if a bit clunky towards the end

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