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Festivale online magazine, March issue
Patch Adams movie review
Patch Adams

Laughter makes better medicine

Answers are everywhere to be found, you just have to be open to them. When Hunter Adams sought help for suicidal depression by checking into a psychiatric hospital he found help not with the inattentive, self-important doctor, but by reaching out to his fellow inmates (Michael Jeter, Harry Gould).

Two years later, Patch is starting medical school, and from the Dean's opening address is questioning the accumulated crust of hundreds of years of medical-messiahs.

Movie Still -- Robin Williams as Patch Adams, Festivale film review; patchadams2.jpg - 18119 Bytes
Movie still, Robin Williams as Patch Adams
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"Indifference is a disease"

One of his first questions is the absence of human (patient) contact in the first two years of training. He makes his way into the wards and into the hearts of the people he finds there. To Patch, they are people, with names, not cases with diagnoses. He wins over the kids, the nurses, even some of the toughest cases, and in doing so reduces the use of pain medication, and relieves some of the distress associated with disease.

Movie Still, Robin Williams as Patch Adams, Festivale film review; patchadams.jpg - 17627 Bytes
Robin Williams as Patch Adams

But people who rock the boat upset those who are afraid to swim, and he quickly frightens Dean Walcott (Bob Gunton), who feels his pedestal collapsing under Patch's doctors-as-peers philosophy. He understands that a book-learned doctor with no people skills can't succeed at human-based medicine. He cannot connect with people as people, he must be a father, trusted by child-like patients, set up as "something better" than human -- a medical doctor.

Movie Still, Robin Williams and Monica Potter in Patch Adams, Festivale film review; patchadams1.jpg - 12316 Bytes
Robin Williams and Monica Potter in Patch Adams

But Patch enjoys connecting with people, he believes that when you connect with the person, you succeed, whether the person lives or dies. He focuses on giving quality to life rather than just fighting inevitable death.

This film takes advantage of Williams' ability to play comedy and drama, as he fights the establishment and dons clown feet to enliven the patients. It's a laugh-coated thought-provoking film fraught with arguments and puns. Take two hours of Patch Adams and call me in the morning.

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See also: Robin Williams also appears in Good Will Hunting
Tom Shadyac also directed Liar, Liar and The Nutty Professor
Steve Oedekerk also wrote Nothing to Lose
Monica Potter also appears in Con Air and Without Limits
Philip Seymour Hoffman also appears in Boogie Nights and The Big Lebowski
Due for Australian release March 25, 1999
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Just the facts:

Title: Patch Adams (1998)
Written by: Hunter Doherty Adams & Maureen Mylander (book Gesundheit: Good Health Is a Laughing Matter), screenplay Steve Oedekerk
Directed by: Tom Shadyac
Produced by: Mike Farrell, Barry Kemp, Marvin Minoff, Deborah Moos-Hankin (co-producer as Devorah Moos-Hankin), Charles Newirth, Steve Oedekerk (co-producer), Tom Shadyac (executive), Marsha Garces Williams (executive)
Edited by: Don Zimmerman
Director of Photography: Phedon Papamichael
running time: 110 minutes

The Players: Robin Williams; Monica Potter; Philip Seymour Hoffman; Bob Gunton; Daniel London; Peter Coyote
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Festivale Online Magazine
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ISSN 1328-8008
Published in Melbourne, Victoria, Australia
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: Published in Melbourne, Victoria, Australia : copyright © Festivale 1998 All rights reserved
Filed: 28-Nov-1998 : Last updated: Mar-1999 : Last tested: 3-Jul-2014: Last Compiled: 3-Jul-2014
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