Mrs. Doubtfire: But if there’s love, dear, those are the ties that bind. And you’ll have a family in your heart forever. All my love to you, poppet. You’re going to be all right. Bye-bye.
Beware: Spoilers may follow.
This is by far one of if not the greatest of Robin Williams’ works in his lifetime. This movie perfectly blends in both comedy and passion. The story is relatable, the characters are both likable and relatable, the actors’ performances are good, and it can connect to the hearts of many.
The story is that Daniel Hillard (Robin Williams) is an actor in San Francisco and a father to three children as well as a husband to his wife Miranda (SallyField). After a bitter argument resulting in a divorce between Daniel and Miranda, the judge decides that Daniel can only see his children once a week. When Daniel learns that his wife is intent on hiring a housekeeper he poses as an elderly Scottish nanny named Mrs. Doubtfire so he can spend time with the kids.
What makes this story so great is that you relate to the perspectives of both Daniel and Miranda regarding the divorce. Daniel loves his family with all his heart and doesn’t want to lose his wife and kids having been with them for most of his life and Miranda just feels that without Daniel she can become a better person for him and their kids. At the same time, both have flaws in their reasonings that they refuse to acknowledge but come to realize in the end.
The ending itself is truly incredible and touching and gives something that children with divorced parents to hope for and relate to. Daniel and Miranda do not get back together but they are now on much better terms with each other and Daniel can see the children anytime he wants. The two may not love each other the way they used to but their love for their children remains strong.
Daniel himself is a compassionate character and is funny as both himself and Mrs. Doubtfire. He’s very carefree and spontaneous but at the same time, he’s a loving father to his kids. And what’s better is that being Mrs. Doubtfire allows him to become a better father and fix the wrongs he had with Miranda and the kids as well as becoming a better person overall. However, he is a flawed character in that he has too much fun and doesn’t know how to be serious at the start of the movie. The menial job he takes following the divorce helps enforce the organized and no-nonsense manner that Miranda has and he lacks.
The make-up used to transform Williams into Mrs. Doubtfire is amazing. It is really difficult to tell that it is him underneath all of it.
It’s easy to hate Miranda due to her being the one insisting on the divorce and the fact that she pulls Daniel away from her and the kids throughout the movie. However, as the film passes we see there was more to her and Daniel’s relationship that just made her want to get away from him. Add that to the fact that her actions aren’t out of spite for Daniel but out of her need to become a better person and out of hope he can become one as well.
Both Daniel and Miranda perfectly contrast from one another so it’s easy to see how they fell in love. Daniel saw someone whose life he could bring joy and laughter into and Miranda saw someone who wasn’t completely organized and no-nonsense as she was in a world full of people like that for most of her life. However, given their differences, it’s easy to see how they could have fallen out of love as well given that neither fully understood the other’s lifestyle.
Pierce Brosnan as Stu Dunmire (Miranda’s new suitor) is also a good character. He both loves Miranda and wants to be a good father figure to the kids. And we see he’s a good man in that he’s successful and stable. We don’t necessarily hate him because he’s at least not intentionally trying to stop Daniel from being their father.
Lydia(Lia Jakub), Chris (Matthew Lawrence), and Natalie (Mara Wilson) as the three kids are not necessarily bad characters but there’s not that much to them. They certainly are enjoyable and likable but there isn’t much to them individually. We don’t see much of them individually so it’s difficult for all of them to be perfectly defined. There are a few scenes that show that their parents’ divorce has devastated them and a couple of deleted scenes (which honestly shouldn’t have been deleted) involving the effect it has had on the eldest child Lydia but that’s about it.
Mrs. Doubtfire is a perfect movie for kids and adults alike. It has some exceptional humor played to just the right amount and heartwarming along with devastating moments to help balance it out. It is truly a great movie to look back upon in Robin Williams’ legacy.