Cinema: ‘Come Inside My Mind’ A Genuine Look At The Man Who Was Robin Williams
Robin Williams: Come Inside My Mind is an intense voyage that brings larger than life figure Robin Williams closer down to earth. It’s a gripping documentary that has a perfect balance of both comedy and tragedy. Wonderfully paced, this nearly two-hour documentary only felt about as half as long as it actually is. Not only does the documentary serve as a biography of Robin Williams, but it also serves as a character study and delves into who he really was and why he was that way. While the film never holds back from showing the worst of Robin Williams, it never feels disrespectful or in bad taste. It’s clear the people who made this film had a lot of admiration and respect for the man.
Most of all, I appreciate the movie’s honesty. I think one of the worst things you can do in a documentary is to try and warp viewers opinion on a person by leaving out the bad things in their life. Generally speaking, we learn more from our mistake and failures than our successes. They’re essential to who we are as people and to not include them would be a fake portrayal of who we are. Robin Williams was a kind and thoughtful soul, but that doesn’t mean he was perfect. Nobody is perfect and it’s important to remember that. It’s what makes us human and it’s important to know that even the biggest of stars are just people like everyone else. Knowing Robin’s struggles, in particular, gives audiences even more appreciation for the man he was. To work so hard to make people smile, but to have so much pain yourself is remarkable.
On top of this, the film is paced wonderfully. Much like Robin himself, it’s a roller-coaster of ups and downs. One minute, you’re laughing at one of his hilarious bits, the next you’re teary-eyed at Robin’s struggles with addiction. Despite this, there’s never a sense of mood whiplash as the film expertly flows from one feeling to another. No scene ever felt out of place and each scene transitioned quite naturally. The editing was very well done and the choice of clips was excellent as well. Finding funny material by Robin Williams certainly isn’t the hardest job in the world, but finding just the right blend of his different styles and tone is no laughing matter. Robin Williams definitely carried the stigma of just being a guy who did funny voices and impressions, but there’s so much more to his performances than that. His rapid-fire rate combined with his ability to engage with audiences are just some of his many skills that not everyone was likely aware of.
One of the greatest things a that a biographical documentary can accomplish is making you feel like you really knew the person it’s about. I never came close to knowing Robin Williams, I was probably never even in the same state as him during his lifetime. Yet, despite this, I feel as if I knew him better than some people I’ve actually met and talked to more than once. I still don’t really know him, but it’s a nice thought to think that I’ve gained some extra level of intimacy with this man who was so unique and one of a kind. To be able to better imagine how the mind of someone so complex and inspiring worked is nothing short of magical. It’s no easy task to condense down the life of someone like Robin Williams, without feeling like you left something out, but the film does a fantastic job of only including the most important information about his life and character.
Anyone familiar with how Robin Williams passed will likely feel a certain sense of dread growing as the film gets closer to its end. You know it’s coming and the team behind the film build to it with excruciating purpose. By the end of the film, you really feel as though you’re losing someone that was close to you. Seeing his whole life at once also gives a lot of context as to why Robin chose to end his life the way he did. Despite his outgoing and high energy performances, Robin was more introverted than many would have expected. Anytime that a movie can help me look at a person in a different light to understand them better is always something I embrace. I think there’s a lot here too for people who have gone or are currently going through similar issues as Robin. In a certain way, Come Inside My Mind can serve as a cautionary tale that even the happiest seeming people aren’t always that way.
In conclusion, Robin Williams: Come Inside My Mind is a fantastic watch. Unlike something like Won't You Be My Neighbor, you don’ need to have seen any of Williams’ prior work for the film to be effective. Much if not all of Williams’ standup that is presented in the documentary still holds up to this day and is extremely entertaining to watch. Of course, if you are already familiar with Robin Williams, the movie is just as enjoyable if not more so. I’d recommend Come Inside My Mind to all audiences except for maybe very small children. Thoughtful, entertaining and very emotional, Come Inside My Mind is as good as documentaries come. With how briskly paced it is, the biggest complaint most viewers will likely have is that they wish the documentary was longer.