This warm documentary about Robin Williams reveals how much he was loved by those who knew him
When Robin Williams died in 2014 at the age of 63, the tabloids filled in the blanks. The front pages speculated on the return of his well-documented demons: Williams had a history of depression, alcohol addiction and cocaine use. Then came the postmortem, revealing that actually he’d been suffering from an undiagnosed degenerative brain disease, Lewy body dementia. Which explained his symptoms in last 18 or so months of life: Parkinson’s-like tremors, visual hallucinations, paranoid delusions and sleep disturbance. As a neurologist puts it, he must have been terrified.
In this sensitive, desperately sad documentary, Williams’s widow, Susan Schneider, along with friends and colleagues, describes his decline. For a while, things just hadn’t seemed right. There’s footage from the set of his final movie, Night at the Museum: Secret of the Tomb; he looks blank and distracted – the alertness and anarchic wit gone. “He was just sort of off,” says a friend. He couldn’t remember his lines. He hadn’t slept for months. There were times he followed Susan around the house.