Mrs Doubtfire (1993)

Mrs Doubtfire (1993)

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In hindsight, surely it was obvious it's a man under all that rubber?
In hindsight, surely it was obvious it’s a man under all that rubber?

Twitter Plot Summary: When his kids are taken away from him by the court, voice actor Daniel disguises himself as elderly Scottish nanny Mrs Doubtfire.

Do you remember the days when family friendly films nudged their running time over the 2 hour mark? You’d be hard pushed to find anything along those lines today, but back in 1993 when attention spans were longer and kids less prone to moments of ADD. Ooh look, a cat’s walking across the road outside… sorry, where were we? Oh yes, attention spans. Back in the 90s you could easily fill the time with comedy dramas and an extensive dose of Robin Williams genius without breaking a sweat or losing your audience.

Here, Williams plays Daniel, a childlike man who performs voiceovers for animated features and is a devoted father to his three children. Unfortunately his exuberant, childlike and spontaneous personality has had an effect on his relationship with his wife, the much more career focused and frequently frowning Miranda, played by Sally Field. When they split up and he finds that his access to his children is restricted pending a period of probation, Daniel uses his brother’s makeup skills and his own canny ability to perform voices in order to perform as an elderly Scottish nanny and look after his kids discreetly.

Adding further fire to the flame is the introduction of rich, potential dad replacement in the former of Pierce Brosnan’s Stu, at this point in his career still rocking an impressive pre-Bond head of hair. There’s much fun to be had watching Daniel interact with this interloper whilst in the guise of an elderly woman, hiding from his family in plain sight. Daniel also has to contend with regular court visits to demonstrate that he is leaving his childlike behaviour behind and creating a suitable home to prove he is capable of looking after his kids without resorting to randomly booking a circus troupe for their birthday.

Bond VS Mrs Doubtfire?
Bond VS Mrs Doubtfire?

Mrs Doubtfire deserves plaudits for covering the realities of divorce, relationship breakdowns and the effect this has on any children involved, and the subsequent emotional and physical effects it has on the couple instigating divorce proceedings. But whilst it does have this undertone of serious drama it is also a story that delights in occasional madcap humour and an engaging underdog storyline, what with the courts (in this case) being biased against the man having custody and all that jazz – you know, the usual stuff about the mother normally being the one to get custody.

If you look at the matter objectively, you can see where Miranda is coming from, however you can also see Daniel’s perspective. It goes without saying that the outcome is they both realise they may have gone to greater extremes than is absolutely necessary, and they end up meeting somewhere in the middle. While it remains true to life in that not everything is wrapped up neatly but there is at least some form of resolution to this particular chapter of their story.

But let’s face it, once you get on board with the idea of Robin Williams being a 6 foot tall female housekeeper, you’ll go along with anything.

Score: 3.5/5

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