is a Very Loosely Based on a True Story
movie starring Robin Williams
as Hunter "Patch" Adams, a medical student who wants to treat people, not just diseases. To do this, he bucks authority, dresses up as a clown, and acts silly and (on occasion) unprofessionally. Also features Philip Seymour Hoffman
in a smaller role as Patch's roommate.
The movie centres largely around Adam's clashing with the old guard of medicine over how to treat patients. Specifically their cold and detached bedside manner. Patch argues they need to be more involved with the person and not treat them as another statistic, whilst his superiors point out that getting emotionally involved helps neither doctor nor patient.
Notably the film received a fair bit of criticism from the real
Dr. Adams, one of many critics, over the film's representation of his views and philosophies. He believed it simplified all his work into "laughter is the best medicine". Furthermore it fabricates entire events such as making his best friend into a woman, to create a love interest, and having Patch commit several felonies which naturally his real life counterpart never did.
This film contains examples of:
- Alone with the Psycho:
- In the beginning of the film, Patch is forced to room with a man who goes apeshit on a regular basis in reaction to imaginary squirrels on the ground. Patch is, to say the least, uncomfortable with the arrangement.
- Carin's visit to Larry Silver's house. It doesn't end well for either of them.
- Award Bait Song: "Where My Heart Will Take Me" (aka "Faith of the Heart") by Rod Stewart, which infamously became the Real Song Theme Tune of Star Trek: Enterprise.
- Broken Aesop: The movie makes the cases that doctors should care for their patients emotionally as well as physically, but midway through the movie getting too close to a patient causes Carin to be killed.
- Bunny-Ears Lawyer: Patch does numerous "funny" things at the hospital, annoying Dean Walcott, but Patch's grades are among the highest in the class. Which is even stranger considering that he never studies.
- Character Title
- Cloud Cuckoolander: Patch
- Comedy as a Weapon: Patch believes in helping patients through humour and laughter.
- Dan Browned
- Dean Bitterman
- Disposable Woman: Carin.
- Driven to Suicide: Patch's attempted suicide is what kickstarts the story. He attempts it again later on.
- Dr. Jerk: Every single one of the doctors.. except Patch Adams.
- Fan Disservice: Patch moons the audience at his graduation.
- Gender Flip: The person Carin is based on was a man in real life.
- Ice-Cream Koan: "If you focus on the problem, you can't see the solution!"
- Jerkass: Patch is this in the eyes of the Dean and initially to Carin. Some of his antics, such as the gynecologist setup, could be construed more as this than the opposite intention of being humorous.
- The Lancer: Truman
- Neutral Female: Carin once she stops being a Straw Feminist. Really, she answers the phone and hears an obviously insane man who wants "somebody to talk to." So naturally, she goes to his house alone. It doesn't go well.
- Punch Clock Villain
- Rape as Backstory: Carin was apparently molested as a child.
- The Obi-Wan: Mendelson
- Smite Me, O Mighty Smiter
- Straw Feminist: Carin is obviously insecure about being a woman in a male-dominated profession, and refuses Patch's (platonic!) advances for fear of showing weakness and contempt for his carefree attitude. She warms up to him considerably when she sees that his grades are near the top of the class.... and ends up getting killed as a result.
- Strawman Political: The social issue Patch is facing was not really a revolutionary idea (the term "bedside manner" long predates him entering Med School), but almost all of the people opposing him act as though being apathetic Dr Jerks is the supreme goal of medicine.
- Very Loosely Based on a True Story: Lots of changes were made. Most notably, the romantic love interest Carin was really a male best friend of Patch Adams who died in an automobile accident, not by being murdered by a mentally ill patient as Carin was.