Robin Williams: Come Inside My Mind

This documentary is like the Amy Winehouse doc “Amy” meets “A Beautiful Mind”.

Let’s get this out of the way: Robin Williams was a freaking alien.

Not the Mork & Mindy kind. But the sort that makes you question if human DNA could possibly produce such a being.

I once saw him jump on stage at the Punch Line in San Francisco (circa 1996). The previous comedian (the great Jake Johannsen) handed him a microphone and Williams threw it 50 feet and said:

“I don’t that f*ckin thing”.

He proceeded to do an entire set (to 200 people) with no mike. And with barely-rehearsed material.

Another time I saw Williams jogging toward me in San Francisco’s Chrissy Field. He clutched his chest and started to fall down. I thought he was having a heart attack. Then he just jogged away laughing.

“Come Inside My Mind” is the best Robin Williams doc I know of.

Trailer for “Robin Williams: Come Inside My Mind”

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Ratings:

  • My Rating: 96/100
  • IMDB Rating: 7.9/10
  • Rotten Tomatoes Ratings: 90/100 (Users); 94/100 (Critics)

Release Date: July 16, 2018

My Review of “Robin Williams: Come Inside My Mind”

“Come Inside My Mind” is less a documentary and more an attempt to reverse-engineer a comedic supernova.

Director Marina Zenovich doesn’t so much peel back the layers of Williams’ psyche as she straps you into a mental rollercoaster and yells, “Good luck!”

It’s a ride that’ll leave you dizzy, exhilarated, and maybe a little nauseous – kind of like spending an hour with the man himself.

The film ricochets through Williams’ life faster than his synapses fired jokes.

One moment you’re giggling at his Julliard antics, the next you’re pondering the existential weight of fame. It’s whiplash-inducing, but then again, so was Robin.

I learned a couple of new Robin Williams from the doc.

For example, when Williams performed at The Met for the first time, 25% of the material was unrehearsed.

Another great nugget: Before Williams went on stage, one observer observed that he appeared to be almost asleep…in a “meditative state”

Talking heads pop up like a game of celebrity whack-a-mole. Billy Crystal reminisces about their friendship with the warmth of a campfire story.

David Letterman admits to feeling both awe and terror when Williams guested on his show – a sentiment shared by anyone who ever tried to keep up with Robin’s verbal gymnastics.

But it’s the archival footage that really grabs you by the collar and screams, “Pay attention!”

Young Robin, with his Mork suspenders and manic grin, improvising at light speed.

Older Robin, eyes a little sadder but still capable of reducing an entire room to tears – from laughter or emotion, take your pick.

The doc doesn’t shy away from the darker stuff.

Williams’ struggles with addiction and depression are addressed head-on, but never in a way that feels exploitative.

It’s more like watching a tightrope walker navigate a windy day – you’re rooting for him, even as you brace for a fall.

Zenovich weaves in Williams’ own words throughout, pulled from interviews and stand-up specials. It’s like he’s narrating his own life story from beyond, tossing in punchlines and poignant observations.

The effect is both eerie and oddly comforting, like finding a time capsule filled with bottled lightning.

By the end, you feel like you’ve been granted VIP access to the most exclusive show on Earth – the inner workings of Robin Williams’ mind.

It’s a place of dizzying heights and cavernous lows, of rapid-fire connections and quiet introspection.

Does the film fully explain the enigma that was Robin Williams? Hell no. That’d be like trying to catch a hurricane in a butterfly net.

But it does give you a front-row seat to the beautiful, chaotic storm that he was.

Thanks for reading!

Rob Kelly, Chief Maniac, Daily Doc