Patch Adams, to me, is a hilarious movie which left me with an unsatisfying warmness in my heart. And it seemed like a combination of Good Morning, Vietnam (1987) and St. Vincent (2014), and the movie seemed to suffer from lot of problems, probably to the point of making a cinematic sin(distortion of the real story, and failure of sharing the world of the story of Patch Adams in the positive way).
Starting with an introduction of an unconventional medical student named Hunter Adams and his hilarious antics (rather, Robin’s antics), the movie goes on to do a risky storytelling of Hunter’s life in medical school. Risky.
- The soundtrack was being played almost all the time. By this effect, every single scene of the movie looks artificial and the film becomes obscure to tell where the crucial moment is.
- St. Vincent had a great cast, and an ingenious filmmaker (or cinematographer) who made it stunningly beautiful. The problem was that it had an overused subject (the unlikely friendship of an angry old man and a young boy), and that too many things happened within 2 hours. There was not so much time for us to realize what had happened, and to understand what the characters were going through. Everything happened too fast in Patch Adams, too.
- Acting was excellent. Other than Robin Williams, who played Patch Adams, all other actors played supporting roles. The supporting actors managed to create their characters well. They managed to have their own telling moment, despite the fast-paced screenplay. Robin was also convincing, but this time it was a little disappointing. His jokes were funny and fresh, sometimes straightforward which never let the audience hanging with unreleased anger towards the villains of the movie. But Robin’s version of Patch Adams, despite using the name of real Hunter “Patch” Adams, is not so much the real one he was portraying, but rather a combination of his already well-known comic persona (especially because it’s his way of doing comedy), and the also well-known part of his real self – generous, kind, and somewhat stubborn Robin Williams. He should have experimented to make the man more Patch Adams, otherwise it’s watching Robin doing his stand up gig.
- Ebert said, “Patch is a character. To himself, he’s an irrepressible bundle of joy, a zany live wire who brings laughter into the lives of the sick and dying. To me, he’s a pain in the wazoo. If this guy broke into my hospital room and started tap-dancing with bedpans on his feet, I’d call the cops.” He described Adams as a self-immersed prankster. This is not valid. Ebert somehow lost his objectivity and was immersed in his feelings that he couldn’t stop pushing it to the corner. In the movie, the children in bed did not get alarmed by Patch because he was wearing a doctor’s gown. He didn’t break into the hospital, and he was at least a medical student, and due to the gown he was wearing, the kids thought he was safe to be in the room. No harms done. Here’s another. “The lesson of “Patch Adams” is that laughter is the best medicine.” No, it’s about treating a person. What Patch Adams in the film was against was the bureaucracy and the doctors’ mistreatment towards the patients. Patch Adams of real life complained the movie did not try to give any lessons he was providing the world. One, he is too full of pride to say as such. Two, the movie, although it might not be the exact lesson he tried to give in real life, did leave a good lesson. Next. “After his big speech, the courtroom doors open up, and who walks in? All those bald little chemotherapy kids Patch cheered up earlier. And yes, dear reader, each and every one is wearing a red rubber nose. Should these kids be out of bed? Their immune systems are shot to hell. If one catches cold and dies, there won’t be any laughing during the malpractice suit.” What if those kids were the ones that were able to get out of the bed? If they, their parents, and their doctors agreed, they could. To tell the truth, some of those kids were real patients. But they still were able to hang around the set, weren’t they? Also invalid.
- The court scene – Patch’s controversial, unconventional method needed more justification. What if he happened to have a patient dying in his hospital? He wouldn’t be able to handle it well in lawsuits.
- This movie is not “allegedly” based on true story, it’s inspired by a true story. By “inspired,” it means the filmmaker can somewhat mess up the story in order to make more telling movie. And Patch Adams had a good reason of messing the original story up – to explore the start of the cause of what Patch Adams does. But sadly, the movie turned out as a merely entertaining movie, especially because it feels more like a fantasy rather than reality. This happened mainly due to its soundtrack and the writing.
- Writing: At first, too much laughter and happiness. In the second half, drama in its full speed.
- Their try to making the movie more telling and dramatic led them to create Carin Fisher. She was another connection to Robin’s Patch, but her death is the reason Patch feels disgust towards the humanity(only in the movie). He goes through confusion. It was actually a good idea.
Despite all the disgust the critics outpoured and how serious the distortion is, I personally felt a lot from this movie. Going through personal difficulties whilst grasping the hope(dream), losing trust towards humanity after being stabbed in the back, making people laugh when they don’t necessarily like the clown, … there are lots of things to see. If it were not for the uproar of the real Patch Adams, Robin’s style of acting in the movie, the unsolved controversy of the way fictional Patch was running his hospital, and the serious distortion of the story, Patch Adams would have made its reputation as big as St. Vincent.
This movie is not a poison that kills you, ladies and gentlemen. It’s okay to watch it, it’s okay to love it, it’s okay if it were your favorite movie of all time. The critics became too jealous of how the movie turned out, and the uproar was too big. This time, the critics were incredibly unprofessional.