The tragic death of Robin Williams on August 11, 2014 caught us all by surprise. He was just 63 years old and we took it for granted that he was going to continue making us spend good times for a long time, but now we only have everything he gave us during his career.
Today HBO premieres ‘Robin Williams: Come Inside My Mind’, a documentary directed by Marina Zenovich that explores the figure of this master of comedy who also showed his skills for drama repeatedly. However, we all remember him more because of the laughter that he took away with great ease. That and much more reflects this remarkable work that does justice to the protagonist of ‘Jumanji‘.
The genius of comedy
One of the mandatory requirements for a documentary about Robin Williams is that he knows how to reflect what made him a unique genius of comedy. It would be very simple to just show some of his best moments and intersperse interviews with friends and family members praising him, and obviously something of that is in ‘Robin Williams: Come Inside My Mind’, but also an intention behind all that which is what it elevates him above other similar works.
Zenovich opts for an approach in chronological order that stops well enough in the different stages that marked his life, starting with his childhood, his beginnings as a comedian, his rise to stardom and his years of splendor. He also does it by alternating very well those resources that he mentioned before – very well chosen the interviewees, each one contributing their bit – including recordings little diffused until now, and several photographs to show a complete mosaic of his comic talent.
At that point, the documentary may not be a definite marvel or investigate to obsessive limits, but it manages to convey that special magic he had for comedy from different pieces of his long career, that need to make people laugh others, both when I was working for it and even when I just had to do it. A good reminder of the reasons why we missed him so much.
The person behind the laughter
However, Zenovich does not forget the person behind that genius of comedy and at all times there is a certain bitterness in the journey throughout his life. For most of the time it is perhaps inevitable because we know it is gone but every so often there is something to influence it, be it the death of John Belushi or various details about his personal life that are gaining importance as the fatal outcome is approaching.
Of course, ‘Robin Williams: Come Inside My Mind’ does not make the mistake of wanting to fall into the tear or excessive emotional manipulation to conquer the spectator. It addresses all this with respect in order to offer a complete vision of the protagonist of ‘Good Morning, Vietnam’. There are his many successes, but also his failures and in the same way that his talent shows us he also has to enter into his most fragile side .
In short, ‘Robin Williams: Come Inside My Mind’ is a recommendable documentary that could have deepened something more in certain aspects, but for that surely it would have been necessary to opt for a documentary series and I do not have very clear that that was a good idea. As it is, it is already a stimulating journey through the life and work of its protagonist.