I hope you all won’t mind the break from wedding blogging for me to give my thoughts about Robin Williams passing away Monday morning. The feelings it brought up were not that kind that can be easily ignored and seem so much more important than what I had planned to write about.
Robin took his own life Monday. He had a job. He was a comedian/actor who won many awards. He had a family who loved him as so many of us do. He was not the first person to suffer and eventually take his life because of depression and he won’t be the last. So why couldn’t I stop crying? No, I mean REALLY crying. I’m talking big tears and a hot splotchy face. My mother even asking, “What’s really wrong?” You’d think the man was my blood. I’ll tell you why.
This man touched my life. He holds a special place in my heart. A place buried beneath heavy boxes of bill paying, dinner making, and laundry…responsibility. Underneath the mundane is a little piece of me I sometimes forget to let breathe. The poet who is finding her verse and sucking the marrow out of life. The child [who still likes to read fairytales] filled with wonder and hope for the future. The dreamer who remembers what it really means to live.
These are the three of his films that taught me how to live better:
1. Dead Poets Society
The story of John Keating, a new teacher at a boys school he is also an alumni of. He tries to teach the young men to be free thinkers in a very unconventional way, much to all the other adults dismay. His lines in this movie hit you right in the gut. You feel like you are a member of this classroom learning the lessons along with everyone else. It makes you think, it makes you passionate about writing your own verse and seizing the day. Robin’s passion and vigor in this film are bubbling over. He’s whispering, yelling, jumping on desks. But none of it is over the top. It’s perfect. It changes you.
You may think of this as a kid’s movie and nothing more, and depending on when you were born, that may be all it is to you. This movie means the world to me. Robin plays a grown up Peter Pan who has become a workaholic too busy to make it to his kid’s baseball game. Captain Hook kidnaps his children and takes them to Neverland where Robin must go to find within himself the true Peter Pan and rescue them. You can truly see Robin’s love for children in this role and others like Jack, Jumanji, and Mrs. Doubtfire. Not because he wants to save his children or professes to love them. But because you see him act (or interact) with children. He listens to them. Really listens. The “Lost Boys” especially. You can tell that he is so incredibly at ease with them and puts them at ease as well. I was a kid when this came out and Robin was my friend. In my brain, running into him and spending the rest of the day on an adventure with this man was not only totally plausible, but hoped for. I knew he understood me and I would have trusted the man with my life. No question.
In my opinion this movie is ridiculously underrated. It’s one of my absolute favorites. It tells the true story of a neurologist who administered a new drug to patients who survived the 1917–28 epidemic of encephalitis lethargica. The patients were awakened after decades of catatonia. It was nominated for three Oscars. Both Robert Deniro and Robin Williams are incredible in this movie. No funny stuff from Robin, just him playing it straight. And it was beautiful. Through the process he realizes he wasn’t much different from the patients in the catatonic state. That he needed to take chances in order to truly be alive. To me, Robin’s acting is so honest and real. You believe him. Instead of a clip, I present you with the trailer. It’s incredibly well made and can make me feel all the feelings in two minutes, forty five seconds.
One common theme runs throughout these three movies. They encourage you to live life to the fullest. To find your place and purpose in this world and live. To appreciate the small and simple beauties of this world, but also to dream and achieve big. So many people are sleeping through their short short lives. Not even realizing that it will all be gone in a moment. Don’t waste a second. Leave something amazing behind. Robin sure did.
What movies of Robin’s touched your life the most? Leave them below.