I was going to do post on this film, since I watched it recently. If I had watched it in a world where Mr. Williams had not ended his life, I think I would have enjoyed it more. However, this is not that world. It’s impossible to discuss this particular film outside of the context of his suicide; maybe in a few years that will be easier.
Obviously this is kind of a downer post, but I’m not going to do a full review, just a synopsis and a clip from the film. I am not warning anyone away from this film because it was definitely very good, but if suicide is a trigger for you then definitely give this one a miss.
SYNOPSIS: Williams plays Lance Clayton, a divorced father with dreams of being a famous writer struggling with a thankless job as a teacher and a thankless son as a father. When his spoiled, unappreciative, immature and deeply unpleasant son accidentally kills himself during an act of auto-erotic asphyxiation, Clayton changes the position of the body and makes it look like an intentional suicide, penning a touching and introspective note. When the boy’s death rocks the school, a cult of personality grows up around the boy, and so his father also creates a journal full of intelligent perspectives on life. The journal is a huge hit and Kyle’s father enjoys almost overnight success, but the hollowness of the success wears on him and he begins to struggle with the loneliness he feels as a result. An especially hard-hitting moment in the film occurs when Robin Williams’ character, on a talk show, looks directly into the camera and reminds the audience that ‘Suicide is a permanent solution to a temporary problem.’
This clip is from the end of the film. It encapsulates the film’s message in its entirety: that loneliness is not being alone, that it’s being around people who make you feel alone; the unspoken coda is that to survive you must sometimes make difficult choices.
There is nudity and some language, but it does more in four and a half minutes than some movies do in more than two hours. It makes perfect use of that most magnificent of glam teamups, David Bowie and Queen’s immortal “Under Pressure.”
NSFW for nudity and language.