by George Wolf
Even as we’re still reeling from the shocking death of Chadwick Boseman this past weekend, Robin’s Wish takes us back to August of 2014, when Robin Williams’s suicide sent similar shockwaves.
In the years since, Robin’s death has often appeared as a testament to the danger of chronic depression. But with this film, director/co-writer Tylor Norwood’s main goal is allowing Robin’s widow to correct the record.
Depression may have touched Robin’s life, but that’s not what ended it.
Susan Schneider Williams explains that an autopsy revealed that Robin suffered from diffuse Lewy body dementia, a buildup of proteins in the brain. Always fatal, the degenerative disease can cause anxiety, self-doubt, delusions, an intense lack of sleep, and drastic paranoia.
As sad as the ending is, Norwood and Schneider Williams make sure we see the genius of Robin’s talent and the “bigness of love” in his soul. The joy he took in bringing smiles to others is touching, as is the Robin and Susan love story that began when one of them (guess) wore camouflage pants to the Apple store.
The film’s overview of Williams’s career is satisfactory but, for the most part, a rehashing of information. The really glaring hole here is the absence of any Williams family member beyond Susan. The reason for this is unclear, but outside voices would certainly have broadened the context.
But Robin’s Wish is indeed worthwhile for a more complete understanding of a legend. The final days of Williams’s life are re-defined with tenderness, clarity and purpose, framing a once-in-a-lifetime talent in an entirely new and tragic light.