Wednesday, March 29, 2006

Patch Adams

cast: robin williams, monica potter, philip seymour hoffman, bob gunton, peter coyote

i had to watch this movie again even if only on the small screen. after all, fellow dangerous reviewer rob has always compared me to the psycho-killer character in the story. the guy that patch adams, together with his medical school classmates, tried to help through their free clinic. the guy who, after offing monica potter’s character, decided to kill himself too. and his motive for both killing and committing suicide? nothing much really except he was feeling lonely, depressed and had the unusual urge to use his shotgun.

and thus my review begins with a minor event from the movie. but be aware, if not for this minor detail, rob would have no comparisons to make, and therefore i wouldn’t watch the movie again and this review would not have existed. it’s usually the small things that trigger the big things.

anyway, patch adams is the story of a man who believed himself to have reached the end of his rope. plagued by suicidal thoughts brought about by severe depression, he decided to admit himself to a mental institution by his own free will. once confined, he found help. but not from the doctors who he felt sucked at their jobs. rather, he realized his purpose and calling when he inadvertently helped a fellow patient take a piss. this seemingly infinitesimal deed made him aware that concentrating your thoughts and energies on helping others make you forget your own problems.

so he checks out of the loony bin to become a doctor in order to be of service to those in need. the movie focuses on patch’s many attempts to help the sick all through medical school – even before he became a doctor much to the consternation of the dean.

despite repeated warnings from the dean to stay away from the medical school’s hospital’s patients, patch goes through all the trouble of going behind the dean’s back and risk being expelled from school just to ease the patients’ sufferings because he knows a secret that he is willing to share to his younger classmates or to anyone willing to listen: helping others is the key to happiness.

it’s funny really when we see many people try to amass a lot of wealth so they can be happy when it is in the giving rather than the receiving that gives one a certain high. there’s nothing wrong with amassing wealth per se. let’s just not stick ourselves in rugby with it that we fail to comprehend the concept of sharing.

giving does not mean giving everything (although this is more noble – but very difficult). we should simply make sure that we are able to look beyond our personal needs or our own family’s needs. once in a while (and i don’t mean only on christmas) let’s think and do something about the needs of our newspaper delivery boy, the boys and girls working at the gasoline station, the bums and homeless people on the streets, and all the other underdogs and less-privileged of society.

this is the lesson i learned from the movie. and thanks to rob, i was encouraged to watch it again.

rating: 4 of 5 stars * * * *
joy lurks in the most unusual of places.

1 comment:

rob said...

I was terrified with the psycho shotgun killer scene. It was shocking because it stood in stark contrast with the comedy nature of the movie. The scene seemed so horrific and real. And also because it's always hard seeing Monica Potter's character getting killed in a movie (like in 'Along Came a Spider', although in a different way).