“Mrs. Doubtfire” is a perfect blend of comedy and drama. It also contains an incredibly creepy concept that our minds manage to accept because of the good intentions of the film’s main character. Obviously, this film is all about the contrasting roles played by Robin Williams. One is an irresponsible father in the middle of an ugly divorce. The other is a 70-year-old British nanny with a spunky-yet-nurturing personality. But the character of Mrs. Doubtfire also operates on two levels: the nanny who is taking care of the children and the man underneath the costume who must learn to take care of a house. Though the film seems goofy on the surface, Williams deserved an Oscar nomination for this impressive multifaceted performance. His antics are perfectly offset by Sally Field, who brings deep emotion to every role that she has ever played. Pierce Brosnan’s character is well-written as he creates competition for Williams but never does anything that would prove him to be malicious or unlikable. The dramatic moments are very dramatic, with yelling and crying that will tug at your heartstrings. The comedic moments are hilarious, from the “Dude Looks Like a Lady” nannying montage to the entire sequence with the court liaison and the pie. The key to the film is the balance between the two. The comedy never interrupts the drama too suddenly and vice versa, so that our tears are always rewarded with laughs but in the perfect proportion. Audiences responded well to the film, making it the second highest grossing film of 1993, only falling behind the cultural phenomenon of “Jurassic Park.” Critical reception was mixed and I’m surprised by its Oscar win for Best Make-Up, considering that it was competing against two of the year’s most acclaimed films (“Schindler’s List” and “Philadelphia”). Still, the test of time always speaks louder than the commentary of critics and “Mrs. Doubtfire” remains just as popular today as it was when it first came out.
[Pictured: Williams creates an endless number of layers to his characters]