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The Serious Roles of Robin Williams

Robin Williams movies have defined a generation, and his passing had an effect on the whole world. While he was mostly known for his comedic roles, his more serious parts have had an equal, if not bigger, lasting impression on those who have seen it. Here are two must see films where the incredible actor shows us he could be sensitive and mournful–like how it feels when you need to learn how to catch a cheater–while still maintaining that same Robin Williams spirit many came to know and love.

Two of Robin Williams’ Serious Roles

“What Dreams May Come”

Directed by Vincent Ward and winning the Academy Award for best visual effects, this 1998 Drama is an incredible story dealing with death, mourning, the afterlife and new life. The film centers around a man named Chris who we learn quickly is in a season of heartache as both of his children recently died in a car accident. In a sad twist of irony, he too dies in a car accident on the year anniversary of his children’s accident. At least he wasn’t a bad parent or husband and his wife didn’t need to learn how to catch a cheater.

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A scene from What Dreams May Come.

The main story of the film is Chris being guided around the afterlife by a few memorable and lovable spirit guides (one being Cuba Gooding Jr). Chris visits Heaven, Hell, in between places and the darkest of the dark. While this film is visually stunning, it can be a hard watch as it does deal with hard topics. Some would say it is one of Robin’s best performances, but it flew under the radar as it does address tough questions like where we go when we die, what happens to those who commit suicide and so on. So watch at your own risk, but it is worth a viewing.

“Patch Adams”

Based on the true story of an innovative doctor, comes a semi-autobiography, comedy-drama that was a huge success in the box office in 1998. Williams plays Patch Adams, a doctor who has the idea that joy can bring just as much healing has medicine to those with terminal illnesses. His belief was that children and adults alike need laughter during such hard times in their life’s. During his years in medical school, he clashed with the dean as his beliefs and methods seemed ridiculous when compared with the medical practice that had always worked. To Adams, the approach most professionals were taking seemed to lack connection and purpose with patience, so he sets out to change things, and he does just that. And again, no need for any information on how to catch a cheater.

Now while this film is full of humorous moments and belly laughter comedy, it comes with hard and heart-breaking scenes as well. Death happens, murder happens, people passing away from different causes, so take caution before watching this with the whole family. This movie teaches you there is room to dream, and there is always a way to find new avenues that bring healing.

Again, we all know Robin Williams and his signature comedy style, but if you are looking for a change of pace in classic films that go a little deeper into the human experience, please give these two films a chance! Another great film is I am David. Take a read about it here.