Directed By: Chris Columbus
Written By: Randi Mayem Singer
Staring: Robin Williams, Sally Field, Pierce Brosnan, Lisa Jakub, Matthew Lawrence, Mara Wilson, Harvey Fierstein, and Robert Prosky
Daniel Hillard (Robin Williams) is a father of three, an actor who’s talent is in doing voices, and a man who hasn’t quite grown up. Daniels three children, Lydia(Lisa Jakub), Chris(Matthew Lawrence), and Natalie (Mara Wilson) adore his free nature. Unfortunately for Daniel, his wife Miranda (Sally Field) doesn’t see things from his point of view and is tired of having to be the only adult in the relationship. In a fury after a birthday party for Chris she tells him she is ready to file for divorce. When the court gives Miranda custody allowing Daniel to only have visitation once a week, he congers an insane idea to see his children. Daniel takes advantage of an ad Miranda has placed in the paper for a housekeeper and nanny. He contacts his makeup artist brother Frank (Harvey Fierstein) and disguises himself as Mrs. Euphegenia Doubtfire, an elderly Scottish woman. Daniels children don’t even recognize him as their father and Miranda buys into the ruse as well. In the meantime Daniel learns some very important parenting skills while also being subjected to watching his ex-wife date a pompous jerk named Stu Dunmeyer (Pierce Brosnan).
Mrs. Doubtfire is one of those movies that will be remembered forever. It has a heart as big as the fat suit worn by Robin Williams, and comedy that is laugh out loud funny. In the beginning of the story Daniel starts out as a man who is more of a child than a responsible adult, but his entire life revolves around his children. Having the center of his universe completely rocked he reacts rashly, but also learns along the way. He finds a way to understand his ex-wife and sympathize with her as he learns to be more than just the fun Dad, but a man (woman) who can be both parent and friend. The sweetness behind all of the make-up and slap stick comedy is the real meat and propeller of the story.
Robin Williams performance was amazing. While the costume and makeup are a comical disguise and he visually appears to be an actual elderly woman, it’s his behavior that gives way to the subtleties of the discomfort a man pretending to be a woman. But somehow when he puts the suit on you get the overwhelming sense that he actually was Mrs. Doubtfire. With the supporting cast of Sally Field and Pierce Brosnan the adults really play well off each other, but the children played by Mara Wilson, Matthew Lawrence, and Lisa Jakub are scene stealer’s.
I’ve also found Mrs. Doubtfire to be one of the more relevant children’s movies that are available. While it’s hilarious to both adult and child the aspect of divorce being really openly examined at a time where it became a much more prevalent thing in society makes the exaggerated way the story is told still entertaining, but an obvious point of connection to any parent or child going through divorce. It really quite fairly touched on each sides feelings and gave them a real existence. No one was a complete bad guy, even in the end Sally Field’s character Miranda’s action is natural and sympathetic.
This is one of the best family movies to come around, essentially ever. It will make you laugh and it will make you cry. Mrs. Doubtfire should be owned by just about everyone. If you don’t own it already, go and purchase it. It’s a very special movie.