DIRECTOR: CHRIS COLUMBUS
CINEMATOGRAPHY: DONALD McALPINE
MUSIC: HOWARD SHORE
CAST: Robin Williams (Daniel), Sally Field (Miranda), Pierce Brosnan (Stuart), Harvey Fierstein (Frank), Polly Holiday (Gloria), Lisa Takub (Lydia), Mathew Lawrence (Chris), Robert Prosky (Mr. Lundy)
ONE WORD: Can Robin Williams get any better, folks.?
Right off the bat, this is a film that is going to knock your socks off. The question is when, and how, and is it going to be all laughs and killer lines, or is it just going to make you cry, and when. Sort of like the Vietnam announcer making the best of a horrible world. Well, San Francisco is not really that far, and this is not a war, but a family coming apart. A divorce that Daniel is having a hard time dealing with, as is Miranda. The question is, what are they going to do about it, and specially Daniel.
To Daniel, his kids are all what his marriage is about. And he uses his acting talents to figure out a way to get back into the swing of things. But the difficulties of doing this seem to get in the way every now and then, and create some hysterical moments in the film. In between you'll be just enjoying some of the best bits and shtick that you have seen in a long time, all courtesy of Robin Williams who is allowed to run rampid when he can.
In between, there is a bunch of kids that at first resist the new maid, but eventually come around, even when they find out what is going on. But the worse is what is going to happen when the poop hits the fan. And the judge, while well meaning takes the course that is not quite the best, or appropriate, but what the law seems to require. The result is an extremely satisfying film, that leaves you sad, but hopeful. All is not perfect, but things are getting better.
The performances here are just outstanding. Robin Williams is right off the bat, the best of them, forcing everyone else to come out of the shells ad show their stuff. For all the kids know, for the majority of the shoot, this did not have to be anyone else except the new house keeper. And for Miranda, this is a bit of a roller coaster ride, but she is managing, even if her new designs on another man are not quite what one would expect. She is liking the role of being spoiled and taken for a ride, a free, romantic and nice ride, something which her marriage to Daniel has lacked, it seems.
But the new Daniel, turns out to be a real treat. A feisty granny, that has some fun, and is fun for the kiddies, who seem to like her, regardless. And a producer that is just totally surprised as to what is going on.
Even the kids in this film are good, well defined and doing their parts. We do not get to see moments that are boring, or that the kids have no lines, or wasted efforts. Everything is used, and well.
Even though some of the comedy bits are not really necessary, like the elder maid having some fun cleaning the house, it is the one moment where the character can let it all hang out and enjoy itself, while doing what is seemingly the impossible, which at this point is to visit his kids. Coupled, with this, is the fact that Mrs. Doubtfire also sits and talks to Miranda many times, wondering what happened to the marriage. It doesn't change Daniel, or Miranda, but it does prepare them for a new life. Their marriage may be over, but their hopes for the future look very promising, indeed. And the kids are just having a ball.
The most fun film to watch this year, thanks to the magnificent performances that are all over it, from the hairdresser to the kids. We never get the feeling that the bit parts are just bit parts. Somehow they appear to be a nice part of the film, and they fit. Well thought out, and directed stuff. Should see.
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