Movie Review: Robin’s Wish
The loss of Robin Williams was a genuine tragedy. His impact on the world, not just of comedy, but on the whole, was such an overwhelmingly positive one. Six years on from his death, and it’s clear how large a love people had for him, especially if we’re still making documentaries about his final days. But maybe we’ve swung from a nostalgic love for his work to the clickbait fuel that can come from the death of a man so beloved by millions. Robin’s Wish, then, teeters between the two, before crashing horribly into clickbait nonsense, interviewing those close to him in his final days, where they offer a rather mundane and routine lead-up to the tragic inevitability.
Robin’s Wish paints a horrible picture of the comedian’s final days. The larger than life comedian was tossed around like a gossip volleyball after his death, with news channels reporting nothing but speculation over and over. It snowballed what should have been a sad day, and turned it into a hypothesizing session of how and why the comedian took his own life. It could be argued that the documentary does no better, re-hashing the hard truths and new revelations of the comedian’s final days, but Robin’s Wish has a strong, faithful message at the heart of its muddled narrative. It dives between the start of his career, and then back to his final days. We see the impact he had on those serving in the military overseas, and then it’s right back to discussing his mental state days before it’s death. It’s quite sick and unsettling overall, it adds nothing whatsoever to the discussion around supporting the mental health of those who seem fine on the surface.
By the sounds of it, the blame game shifts between directors, friends, and family members. Williams was suffering, but all we get from these moments are Shawn Levy talking about how it was harder to edit the film. It feels as ghoulish as the press breaking the story. You have various talking head interviews offering their two cents on the issue, about how they knew something was wrong with him, but never said anything at the time. It feels both underwhelming and a tad insulting at the same time. It’s a documentary without anything new to say, it relies wholly on the one breakthrough it has to offer, and the only reason it has this breakthrough is because of a brief revelation on the coronary report that released.
It’s ultimately futile in what it wishes to say though. Robin Williams: Come Inside My Mind is the far better retrospective, and stronger documentary of the two. To compare the two seems harsh, since the initial ten minutes cover the death of Williams and the truth around it, but after that there’s nothing more but re-hashing a great man’s career in half the time Come Inside My Mind uses. Archive footage that you can find easily on YouTube or simply by watching his movies. The rest of it is just a vile dissection of the few words friends and family have to offer. There’s no doubting how great an acclaimed a man Williams was, there’ll be very few people that can hold a candle to the charm and caring nature of this man, but Robin’s Wish does him no justice at all.