At this point, Robin Williams’ death is in no way news to any of you folks, of that I am sure. So there is no need to go into any details about it here really. I just want to take a moment to express how badly that we as a nation, as a planet, need to seriously address mental illness issues. For far too long they have been placed on the back burner, left to simmer but never consumed.
I, myself, have struggled with depression throughout my adult life. I don’t think I’ve ever been truly suicidal, but many who suffer depression are, and sadly, they follow through. Such was the case with Williams, who battled depression for many years, oftentimes self-medicating with alcohol and other substances.
If anything good can come from Robin Williams’ tragic death, it would be for people to start realizing how prevalent mental illness and depression runs rampant in our society. It needs to be brought out further into the spotlight after this. People need to be educated and made aware of the signs.
As I type this, just a few hours after his death, there are already sensationalist news articles floating around about Williams’ “troubled life,” yet nothing on the seriousness of depression itself. Which doesn’t surprise me in the least, but it certainly still annoys me.
I was over at reddit a couple of hours ago and folks were sharing some of their favorite movies, TV moments and other memories of Williams. All of his obvious classics like Good Morning Vietnam, Mork & Mindy, The Birdcage, Dead Poets Society, Good Will Hunting, etc. were mentioned. Hell, folks were even reminiscing over Bicentennial Man. The one that I didn’t see mentioned and I subsequently brought up was The Fisher King.
In The Fisher King, Williams plays a man who lost his wife in a tragic shooting and then falls into the depths of severe psychosis — having delusions of a terrifying red knight after him and suffering from a general disconnect with reality. I don’t want to spoil anything by saying much more, but in my opinion, it is his best movie.
I may be a bit biased in that statement because it was a classic from my childhood. I first watched it as a kid of about 12-years-old or so, and even though I didn’t yet grasp what it was really about, I still wore out that goddamn VHS tape in no time. Some may not deem it as award-worthy as his role in Good Will Hunting — although, something I just learned today is that he was nominated for an Oscar and won a Golden Globe for The Fisher King — a damn fine performance.
In fact, everyone in the film gave a spectacular performance. Mercedes Ruehl won the Academy Award for Best Supporting Actress, and Jeff Bridges’ role as the scummy radio shock-jock-gone-good was damn-near perfect as well, earning him a Golden Globe nomination. It’s definitely a must-see for those who have yet to watch it.