Tuesday, July 13, 2010
Patch Adams ( 1998)
Director : Tom Shadyac.
Is it necessary for a movie to be studded with great performances, writing or screenplay to be appreciated or enjoyed? Why can't a movie be appreciated for what it was trying to tell or bring to focus?. Patch Adams is a light hearted comedy based on a true story of a remarkable man who manages to touch and improve the life of many and bring about a change in the century old rules dictating the noble profession of Medicine.
A bus enters the first shot and one of the passengers on the bus was Hunter Patch Adams(Robin William), who is on his way to an asylum on psychiatric suggestion for attempting suicide after the death of his father. Patch shares room with Ruddy,who is a paranoid case and is scared of squirrels. Ruddy hardly gets down from his bed coz of his paranoia. One night Adam helps Ruddy to the toilet and realises that he is able to forget his grief and problem while helping others. The very next day he leaves the asylum with a goal of helping people, listening to their problems, attempting to solve them and a new found meaning to life.
Two years after leaving the asylum Adam joins Virginia Medical University to be a medical doctor, he is the odd man out as he is the oldest among the students. Hunter gets into trouble with the Dean of the university Dean Wallcot(Rob Gunton) very early in the session. There is clash of beliefs between the Dean and Adam, the Dean believes that there should be no personal relations between a patient and a doctor while Adam believes in treating the patient with compassion and not just treat him but to improve the living condition of the patient. Medical students are not supposed to enter the Hospital till the third year but Adam makes it a habit of meeting patients ,making them laugh and improve their conditions. Dean wallcot notices this and rusticates Adam after Adam plays a prank while organizing the conference of Gynecologists but later Adam is re instigated.
Adam meets a girl Corin Fisher(Monica Potter) and falls in love with her. While spending time with the patients despite of warnings by the dean Adam visualizes a dream of creating a Hospital where patients will be treated not just by medicine but with compassion and love. Where there will be a relationship between the doctor and the patient beyond that. He starts a small clinic which was later to shape up as the Gesundheit Institute with the help of Cornie and one of his colleagues Truman Schiff (Daniel London)at a land owned by Arthur Mendelson, a wealthy man he met at the asylum. He still continues to study at the university while running the clinic where people start to pour in not just to get treated but also to help. A new patient Larry(Douglas Roberts) comes to the clinic, Cornie finds something discomforting about him but Adam admits him and the work goes on as usual. One night Larry calls the clinic and Cornie being alone decides to go to Larry's house. Next morning she is found dead , killed by Larry. This incident leaves Adam heart broken and filled with guilt. He decides to leave everything and almost goes back to where he came from. He goes to commit suicide but somehow stops with a feeling that Cornie is around somewhere and wants him to continue with his pursuit. But before he completes what he started out to achieve he is again questioned and put in front of committee for his methods and practising medicine without proper qualification and a license. Hunter Patch Adam makes a statement in front of the committee which makes them believe that whether Adam has a license or not but what he has done has actually improved the life of the patients. The committee dismisses the charges by applauding his efforts to improve the quality of life around him and his efforts in expanding the frontiers of medical theories. It also suggests the dean to practise a little more of "Excessive Happiness" a charge Adam was charged with by the Dean Wallcot.
Robin Williams has been a part of Happy go lucky movies all through out his career but I felt this movie had a purpose to fulfill and William gives his full effort to bring the character of Hunter Adams to life on screen. Though he is let down by the screenplay and the dialogues. The only other credible performance other than Robin Williams has been from Rob Gonton as Dean Wallcot. He has been strict and you are forced to hate him because of his relentless pursuit of getting Adam out of the university. Monica Potter was supposed to look gorgeous and provide that love and emotional angle though its not true in real life. In case of real Hunter Patch Adam the close friend who was killed was a man.
The story though tells a true real life story but what it lacks is that feel which could have made the movie a real classic. The screenplay and editing could have been better. The movie tells about 7 years of a man's life, so it had a lot to show but in order to capture the whole it looses on the impact. In spite of being a really brilliant real life story Patch Adam falls short. But yes it can be categorized as one of the movies which speak much more than what they were able to represent on the screen.
Plus : Robin Williams and few moments of real compassion.
Minus : Screenplay and editing which make the movie a bit hasty.
Posted by Aditya