Robin Williams: Come Inside My Mind (2018)

robin williams come inside my mind poster 2018 movie
7.5 Overall Score

Interesting subject

Still comes off as a mystery

Movie Info

Movie Name: Robin Williams:  Come Inside My Mind

Studio: HBO Documentary Films

Genre(s): Documentary

Release Date(s):  January 2018 (Sundance)/July 16, 2018 (US)

MPAA Rating: Not Rated

robin williams come inside my mind mork happy days ron howard

One knock on the Cunninghams’ door changes everything for Mork

Robin Williams on stage was alive.  His mind and jokes ran at rapid fire speed that few comedians could match.  Off stage, he was a different person.  He still had the humor and comedy, but there was a quiet side to him.  Gaining fame on the comedy circuit then exploding on television, Robin Williams made the leap from TV to the big screen.  Robin Williams had demons to battle and try to tame, but sometimes demons can win in the end.

Directed by Marina Zenovich, Robin Williams:  Come Inside My Mind is a biographical documentary on Robin Williams (July 21, 1951-August 11, 2014).  The movie premiered at Sundance and was released on HBO as part of their HBO Documentary series.  It received positive reviews.

Robin Williams was a childhood icon.  I loved Mork & Mindy and watched it regularly with my sister.  Mork’s spastic and hyper talk was perfect for a little kid, and he seemed to talk to the children in all of us.  I’m not a big stand-up guy, and Williams’ comedy never seemed to advance much…it was often funny and quick and off the cuff, but it was often the same shtick in delivery and style.  Despite this, Williams’ death was the death of a childhood, and I happened to be in LA not long after his death where his star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame was adorned by fans.  Robin Williams:  Come Inside My Mind is an interesting exploration into Williams, and an interesting attempt to see what made him tick.

robin williams come inside my mind met opera house

When you can sell out the MET, you might have a career…

The story is a very straightforward documentary.  It is interviews, clips, and relatively follows Williams through the course of his life.  It seems to gloss over some parts and aspects, but for a two hour documentary, it does hit what feels necessary.  There aren’t many shocking revelations (except maybe that the much publicized divorce and marriage to the nanny wasn’t as salacious as made seen at the time).  It is rather odd to see something so level and even-keeled on Williams when Williams was always a wild card.

The documentary does a good job bringing in people who knew Williams, but from their interviews, it kind of gives the impression that he kept them out in ways.  Of those interviewed (besides Williams’ ex-wife and family), it felt like Billy Crystal possibly new him the best, and even at time, it seems like Williams kept Crystal at a distance.  He didn’t seem like an easy person to really “know”.

robin williams come inside my mind

This screams late 1980s early 1990s

Robin Williams does still come off as a mystery.  Not mentioned in the documentary is the well-known story that Williams often stole jokes from other comedians.  Was he clinically depressed?  Manic?  Did he actually have more medically wrong with him than previously believed?  The meeting with the Tourette syndrome sufferer in the documentary does also feel like Williams in his description of how his mind runs non-stop.  You get the “sad clown with a happy face” feel from Williams in general.

It is easy to armchair quarterback someone who might have mental problems when you watch a documentary, but it generally isn’t accurate or helpful.  The documentary did remind me of what I liked about Williams as a kid, and that he was a pretty talented actor when he was allowed to be.  Even if you aren’t a fan of his comedy, he is an interesting subject and unwrapping his true persona is an interesting challenge that the film does meet for all intents and purposes…but it also feels like an unattainable goal.

Author: JPRoscoe View all posts by
Follow me on Twitter/Instagram/Letterboxd @JPRoscoe76! Loves all things pop-culture especially if it has a bit of a counter-culture twist. Plays video games (basically from the start when a neighbor brought home an Atari 2600), comic loving (for almost 30 years), and a true critic of movies. Enjoys the art house but also isn't afraid to let in one or two popular movies at the same time.

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