I always believed that I’d be writing about The Fisher King for this website because of my intense devotion to Jeff Bridges. Never could I have foreseen the circumstances we now find ourselves in. This week has seen I’m With Geek celebrate some of Robin Williams’ finest work, and while other writers have celebrated the likes of Dead Poets Society, Good Will Hunting and Mrs Doubtfire, for me, The Fisher King is the masterpiece of the bunch. Directed by the visionary Terry Gilliam, The Fisher King sees Bridges and Williams turn in Oscar-worthy performances long before their respective wins, with Williams receiving a Best Actor nomination, co-star Mercedes Ruehl receiving the Supporting Actress Award, and Bridges nominated for a Golden Globe (an award won by – you guessed it – Robin Williams.)
The strong themes of suicide, death and mental illness are deftly handled thanks to the talent of Williams and the skill in which the subject matter is handled. Under the direction of Terry Gilliam, a man well-acquainted with humour, surrealism, and the Holy Grail itself, The Fisher King is a film which finds laughter in pain, adventure in madness, and values its characters.
Watching Robin Williams in The Fisher King is watching a true genius at work. While his impressive body of work features both moments of comedy greatness and powerful drama, in The Fisher King, he effortlessly flits between the two: adorably smitten with Lydia in one moment, catatonic with grief the next. Williams has many performances that one could say “defines” his career and this fact just proves what a beloved talent he was. Parry deserves to be included amongst those highlights. Parry may not have found the real Holy Grail, but we found something equally wondrous in this performance.