If there was ever an article I wish, with all my heart, I didn't need to write, it's this one. The fact that I'm With Geek is commemorating the cinematic works of this film and comic icon means only one thing; that a shining light in the world has gone out, that an inspiration and an irreplaceable emblem of childhood has passed away. In short, Robin Williams has gone on an awfully big adventure.
Based on a true story, Patch Adams tells the tale of Hunter "Patch" Adams, a unique individual with a beautiful view on the world who, after a suicide attempt, admits himself into a psychiatric facility to get better. While there, Patch finds himself, finds a direction in life - not from the Doctors, but through his interractions with his fellow patients - and embarks to become a Doctor himself.
Whilst at medical school, Patch saw first hand the flaws of the medical system; the disconnect and the superciliousness of Doctors towards Nurses. Above all of this, the overwhelming unfairness of the insurance-based Healthcare system and created the Gezundheit institute; America's first free hospital.
It was an immense challenge to make myself watch this film following Williams' death. Given the way his life came to an end, I was almost afraid that, given the similarities between Patch's life pains and those suffered by Robin. that the film would be too close to reality for comfort. I won't deny that, for me at least, Williams' death hangs over this film but that only serves to make every line that little bit more poignant - a feeling that only intensified when the also-late Philip Seymour Hoffman made his appearance on screen. I had forgotten he had a role in this film.
That being said Patch Adams is a beautiful story. A story that showcases Williams' great skills as an actor. In one scene you catch yourself laughing, in the next you're lost for words, or close to tears. It's thought-provoking and incredibly well-writen. All of this is almost completely outshone by the stunning and richly detailed cinematography. Whether it's a sprawling forested view or a hospital dorm room, the scenes have been decorated, and sought, with such an attention to detail, you lose yourself in the moment.
The fact that Williams was, like Patch, a uniquely damaged person, carrying such a different and singular pain, gives him the ability to look past the mundane and to see the beauty and pleasure of the world around us. Sometimes it's a cruel place, and at other times you'll find something that will take your breath away. And to see the life enriching benefits of simply laughing.
With Robin Williams no longer among us, there's going to be a little less laughter in the world. It's up to everyone he touched, everyone whose lives were made better from his humour, to continue to spread joy, to find the unique way of looking at things, to find a glimmer of joy and hope, among the sadness and pass it on.
And if you're ever lost on how to do that, remember Robin Williams and look to Patch Adams, and every other joy-inducting film he made, as a guide.
"See what no one else sees. See what everyone chooses not to see... out of fear, conformity or laziness. See the whole world anew each day! See what no one else sees. See what everyone chooses not to see... out of fear, conformity or laziness. See the whole world anew each day!"