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A virtuoso performance
on 31 March 2014
This brilliant film, made in 1993, still has ongoing appeal. Robin Williams plays Daniel Hillard, an unemployed voice actor living in San Francisco. Daniel adores his children Lydia, Chris and Natalie, but his wife, Miranda (played by Sally Field), thinks his approach to life and to parenting is irresponsible and immature. Chris gets a bad school report but Daniel still gives him a birthday party. Miranda says this is the last straw and starts divorce proceedings and the judge gives her provisional custody of the children, since Daniel has no job and no suitable home for the children.
Daniel, who doesn't want a divorce, finds out that Miranda is going to get a housekeeper because she won't let Daniel help look after the children. Daniel manages to alter her ad and then rings her, using his acting skill to pose as a series of terrible applicants. When she is desperate, he rings again, pretending to be a charming, elderly Scottish nanny, Mrs. Euphegenia Doubtfire. Miranda invites Mrs. Doubtfire for an interview and Daniel gets his brother Frank, a makeup artist, to transform him into Mrs. Doubtfire. He gets the job.
The film is funny and touching and the ending is bitter-sweet. I have shown this film to children many times, without getting tired of it. Robin Williams gives a virtuoso performance, though it may be that it was the pressure of constantly having to be fresh, funny and lovable that drove him into his alleged problems with alcohol and drugs - the down side of fame. He is a marvellous performer and this is a highly entertaining film.