I had a different movie review written. I just couldn’t run it. This month had to be dedicated to the amazing Robin Williams. Whatever the circumstances of his death, he was a talent that will live forever in our hearts. So, this month I will share with you a review of my personal favorite.
I went to a wedding the other day. It was a beautiful summer day and I was listening to the heartfelt vows of some dear friends who probably didn’t expect to find new love in their golden years. The garden location was perfect and as we went inside for the reception I was taken back to 1993, not because of something that happened to me, but as a reminder of a movie that was filmed in this very location, Mrs. Doubtfire. We were seated in Bridges Restaurant in Danville, California.
Weddings tend to make you think. Oddly enough, I wasn’t thinking about a knight in shining armor or even a marriage gone bad, I was thinking about the film Mrs. Doubtfire and what changes have come about in our court system in the last 18 years. I bet when you watched it all those years ago you probably weren’t thinking about custody rights, at least not in retrospect.
Daniel Hillard (Robin Williams) is a kind, loving father. He is also a poor disciplinarian and a generally shaky role model for his three children. Miranda (Sally Field), his wife has definitely had to take on the role of “bad cop” in the family. After quitting or losing yet another job, Daniel picks up his kids at school and throws together an impromptu birthday party for his son. Miranda is called home by a neighbor to find a huge petting zoo parked on her quiet San Francisco street with ducks and geese, little horses, and rabbits inside and outside her lovely home. The police have just arrived and her husband and children are dancing on the fancy dining table. This is the final straw, there is no room left in her life for the eccentric, fun loving actor who specializes in dubbing cartoon voiceovers.
Miranda goes to divorce court and gets custody of the children. Daniel has ninety days to redeem himself. Now 90 days isn’t a lot of time when you’re unemployed and homeless, but Daniel finds a small apartment and gets a boring job. It really gets interesting when he hears that she is going to hire a Nanny-Housekeeper for his children and Daniel applies for the job; basically in drag…enter Mrs. Doubtfire.
Mrs. Doubtfire is an elderly woman created by Daniels brother, Frank a special effects make-up artist, and she gets the job. Frank does such an amazing job that no one seems to recognize Daniel. Life is beautiful. Miranda has an amazing Nanny. The kids have someone they adore and Daniel finally figures out how to be a parent.
Oh yes, there is the resident hunk, Stuart (Pierce Brosnan). He’s an old friend, new client and wannabe new mate for Miranda which really steams Daniel. Back to Bridges. There is an incredibly funny scene at our local restaurant where Daniel is doing what Robin Williams does best, mastering chaos.
All in all, Mrs. Doubtfire is a poignant romantic comedy where Robin Williams will keep you in stitches with his improvisational antics. Sally Field will totally endear you and the children have some of the best lines. But back to the court system, my thoughts ran to how different our world is today. No longer are Dad’s relegated to Saturdays at 2pm, more and more are successfully sharing custody and loving every minute of it. I’d like to think that this sweet movie may have been a tipping point. Watch it again and tell me what you think at firstname.lastname@example.org