Many comedies have somewhat predictable outcomes, or plots that include a cliché or two, which still makes them entertaining, but there is one 1990s film that defies all norms and is something completely unique.
Mrs. Doubtfire (1994) is a beautiful movie that will make you laugh, cry, and realise that family is a wonderful, wonderful thing.
Robin Williams stars as Daniel Hillard, a family man with a great sense of humour and a strong love for his wife, Miranda (Sally Field), and three kids.
After quitting his job one day, Daniel throws a somewhat over the top party for his son Chris’ (Matthew Lawrence) birthday, complete with a petting zoo whose animals eat Miranda’s flowers and urinate inside their house...
When Miranda comes home, she is less than happy, but it turns out that she is miserable; she asks to divorce Daniel and, in the process, gets custody of their children for most of the time.
Daniel is left devastated and, after he moves out, realises that seeing his children only one day a week under supervision isn’t good enough; so, he devises a plan...
He decides to answer his ex-wife's ad in the paper for a housekeeper, and goes to great lengths to make it believable; he transforms into the role of an elderly British woman in order to get the job and spend more time with his kids.
Mrs. Doubtfire is a genuinely outstanding film, and not just because of the unique plot or perfect casting, but also for the combination of comedy and emotion that was spread throughout this feature.
As far as characters go, Daniel is simply wonderful; he’s kind, thoughtful, and always one to make jokes, in many cases at the wrong time. He is such a lovely man, which deeply reflects the late actor who portrayed him.
Mrs. Doubtfire, his alter ego of sorts, is a riot. She speaks loudly and often total gibberish, but every single scene she’s in (which is most of them) is a complete joy to watch; she takes complete control over Miranda’s home when she isn’t there, and makes sure the three kids do their chores and homework.
Behind the scenes, when Daniel is being himself, he shows what a great father he is, and he watches cooking shows in his apartment, and does research into how to make the perfect lobster.
Aside from how wonderful Williams truly is in this movie, we can’t forget the incredible writing by Randi Mayem Singer and Leslie Dixon.
Each and every scene is entertainment at its finest, as every character has their own distinct personalities of course, but this allows for not only some well-timed and rib-tickling comedy, but also some beautiful and heartfelt moments.
Mrs. Doubtfire is someone who doesn’t take no for an answer, and talks way too loudly and for too long, making up lie after lie about her deceased husband, who was apparently hit by a drinks truck...
Watching poor Daniel lead a complicated double life is probably one of the funniest things, as in one scene he’s switching between himself and alter ago in order to maintain the hilarious illusion that there is both him and his ‘sister’, Mrs. Doubtfire, living in his flat.
However, among all the comedy and brilliant moments created by Williams and the cast, there are some really strong themes of grief, loss, love and determination that serve as a strong backbone for this film.
Of course, Mrs. Doubtfire is a comedy, but it also digs deeper than that and highlights how divorce can affect a family, and how a parent’s love can be stronger than anything else in the world.
Daniel does everything he can for his children, and in the midst of all the jokes and funny, embarrassing moments, we see a somewhat broken man who just loves his kids, and wants nothing more than to be with them.
Mrs. Doubtfire has some of the best jokes and quips, making it a classic to be remembered forever; in one scene, where Mrs. Doubtfire has been invited to a pool day with Miranda and the kids, his ex-wife's new lover shows up...
Stu (Pierce Brosnan) seems like a nice guy, but when he’s at the bar ordering drinks, he tells the barman how much he loves the family, but that the father is “a loser”.
Daniel is at the same bar in disguise and, without thinking, lobs a piece of fruit at Stu’s head, claiming it was a “run by fruiting!”
Mrs. Doubtfire really has it all; a stellar cast, amazing comedy, the perfect protagonist, and a story that will melt any heart. It is a feature that should never be forgotten, and should be praised even today.
Watch the trailer for Mrs. Doubtfire below:
Written by Melissa, who you can follow on Twitter @melissajournal