Monday, March 23, 2015

The Angriest Man in Brooklyn

Last night I watched one of Robin Williams' last movies: The Angriest Man in Brooklyn. I don't know when he finished the movie, but it was released in May 2014 and came out on video-on-demand (VOD) in July 2014, weeks before Williams' suicide. I can only find bad reviews of the movie, but I enjoyed it. Critics said Williams' character's anger seemed energetic, but unconvincing. Because these reviews were written while Williams was still alive, they pulled no punches and called the movie predictable and maudlin. And because Williams was alive when they were writing, critics were also unable to make this comment: at one point in the movie, Williams' character predicts what his tombstone will say with this line, "Henry Altman, 1951 dash 2014." That moment was chilling for me.

I enjoyed this movie (which I watched on Amazon VOD) because it's about relationships. Williams plays Henry, a man with a big anger problem, who has ruined his marriage, his relationship with his son and has alienated most of his friends. When he finds out from a doctor played by Mila Kunis that he has a brain aneurysm that leaves him with ninety minutes to live, he goes into overdrive trying to mend his relationships with his family, hoping to do so before he drops dead.

My favorite part of the movie is Peter Dinklage who plays Henry's patient, long-suffering brother. I loved him in The Station Agent and he's even sexier in this movie. Henry's brother is the only calm, rational one in the movie, and I perked up every time he came onscreen. Besides Dinklage, I thought Kunis and Williams also came out strong. They're quite funny together and I appreciated that they didn't fall into emotional stereotypes. Henry's anger batters relentlessly at Dr. Gill's earnest attempts to help him (after an initial clash), but she doesn't fold. In spite of her own considerable pain and loneliness, Dr. Gill matches Henry's intensity and drive when she could buckle under his contempt. There are a couple of moments when the plotline could have taken the easy way out, but it doesn't.

But the main point of his post is to point out that just before Williams' death, he did a movie about a man facing death, who pegs his lifespan as lasting from 1951 to 2014. It comes towards the end of the movie and it's an eerie moment.

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