Robin Williams’ last role reflective of his personal issues

Dan Almasi, Sports Editor

I recently watched a movie titled The Angriest Man in Brooklyn. It wasn’t a documentary, but it was incredibly eye-opening. It wasn’t a horror film, but it told a very real, chilling story.

The Angriest Man in Brooklyn starred the late, great, beloved Robin Williams. It was released in January of 2014 and was the second last film Williams appeared in and the last in which he played the protagonist. It was a story of Henry Altmann (Williams), a perpetually angry, unhappy man who was given an inaccurate diagnosis of 90 minutes to live by his doctor (Mila Kunis) and set out to make amends with his son and wife, both of whom were alienated and emotionally estranged from Williams by his anger.

As anyone who follows the media in any capacity knows, Robin Williams committed suicide in August 2014. At one point in the movie, Williams jumps off the Brooklyn Bridge in a suicide attempt.

I wondered why none of the many stories I had read about Williams made any mention of The Angriest Man in Brooklyn and the possible connection between the film and the reality of Williams’ personal and emotional troubles.

Though there were very likely many factors and personal battles Williams was facing that played into his death, I believe that Williams sacrificed a lot of himself through his acting and I feel that should have been acknowledged by the media and film industry. After watching the film, I even considered the possibility that the film industry purposely made sure no connections were made by the media between The Angriest Man in Brooklyn and Williams’ death, due to the possible ethical debates that may have followed.

Watching this movie, for me, raised so many questions about Williams and how his acting career may have affected his personal life and what kind of toll acting took on his psyche. They say the best actors don’t just act, they, in essence, become their role. Perhaps, sometimes, actors have difficulty fully reverting back to their actual self after devoting so much to a character they play. Perhaps acting as Henry Altmann inadvertently surfaced real negative feelings within Williams.

Williams, in my opinion, is one of the greatest actors in film history. From his humorous roles in family favorites like Mrs. Doubtfire and Jumanji to his more serious roles in award-winning cult classics like Good Will Hunting and Dead Poets Society, he gave everything he had to every role he played. He truly gave all of himself to the art of film.

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