Oh the irony…
In “Boulevard,” the last movie Robin Williams appeared in before his death, his character was sad and lonely, even around the people who loved him. Nolan, portrayed by Robin, had lived his whole life as a lie. And in a split second, to satisfy his thirst for something tangible, something to make him feel alive again, he reached out, not to those close to him, but to a total stranger. It was a moment that he couldn’t take back. And he didn’t want to.
I won’t go into detail, for those who haven’t seen the movie yet. But as I sat in the movie theater on a Sunday afternoon, right here in Nashville where the movie was filmed, I actually found myself holding my breath several times, feeling Nolan’s pain and sadness. Or was it Robin’s?
Painting by Warren Louw –
In the end, Nolan had the chance to start over, to finally be true to himself. Though as the movie ended, we don’t know if he ended up being happy with his new life, or if he ended up lonely again, in a new city, still pretending to be someone he’s not…
I can’t help but wonder how making this movie may have impacted Robin’s life, and whether the story line may have left him more depressed… enough to take his own life.
The many personas of Robin Williams were so much a part of the fabric of my life, making me laugh in my formative years with the sheer genius of “Mork and Mindy” and all his other antics on Saturday Night Live and late night talk shows, and making me think and feel deeply in later years with “Dead Poets Society,” “Awakenings,” “Good Will Hunting,” and “What Dreams May Come.”
If you haven’t seen the latter, I highly recommend it. It totally changed the way I think about life, and death, and everything in between. It was, in my opinion, his greatest work. And coincidentally, the story line is about a man whose wife died by suicide. He loved his wife so deeply that when he later died in an accident, he went to hell, literally, to bring her back into the light.
It somehow brings me comfort to imagine someone on the other side, who loved Robin deeply, making that same journey to bring him back into the light…
No matter our beliefs, we have to hold on to something. And I’m holding on to that image of Robin smiling again. It’s the only thing that keeps me from grieving over losing him, all over again.
Life and living. Death and dying.
It goes on, down the Boulevard.
And we just do the best we can, trying to stay between the lines…
“Sober, tender and reassuringly unsentimental…As Robin Williams’ final film, it tolls a wonderful bell for the legacy of a distinguished career.” – Rex Reed, New York Observer
“Uncommonly compassionate, candid and courageous.” – Prairie Miller, WBAI Radio
“…one of the best performances of his career.” – Alfonso Espina, ScreenPicks.com
“…this is one of the kindest characters Williams has ever played, which makes his self-imposed turmoil — the consequence of not wanting to hurt anyone, least of all his wife — all the more tragic. Tapping into that same loneliness felt in “One Hour Photo” and “Good Will Hunting,” the actor projects a regret so deep and identifiable, viewers should have no trouble connecting it to whatever is missing in their own lives — whether those regrets are romantic, sexual, professional or spiritual.” – Peter Debruge, Variety