Monday, December 17, 2018
From Rotten Tomatoes:
I saw Mrs. Doubtfire at the exact right moment. It wasn’t on the day it came out, but maybe a year and a half later. My parents were about to embark on what would end up being a nasty divorce, and my father was no longer living at home. It was well before the “50% of marriages end in divorce” world we’re all deeply familiar with now, and my parents’ separation made me feel like an outlier in our slightly Stepford-ish Connecticut town. I didn’t know anyone else whose parents were divorced. Would we survive it? It felt like the end of the world.
My two younger siblings and I watched Mrs. Doubtfire for the first time on VHS, a rare universally approved pick from the local Blockbuster. Instantly, we were transfixed by Robin WIlliams’ effortless charisma. This was the dad that every kid wanted, and in my 9-year-old eyes, my father was a hilarious hero much like Daniel Hillard, an energizer bunny of a mostly stay-at-home dad, especially compared to my far grumpier workaholic mother. You’d expect a story like this to totally villainize the mother, but what happened was something far different. The film quickly became a tender ode to modern families when love simply isn’t enough, and what happens when families break apart for the better.
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