When it comes to suicide, people always presume it’s down to one thing; depression. But in the case of Robin Williams, everyone was very wrong. The headlines got it wrong, social media got it wrong and I got it wrong.
When the news came out about the tragic death of actor and comedian Robin Williams back in 2014, people were quick to judge that he was ‘depressed’ and lived with ‘suicidal thoughts’. But it wasn’t until after his death that his wife Susan finally found out the truth behind it all. He had been suffering from Lewy body dementia and he never even realised. As someone who doesn’t know anything about this degenerative disease, this film has opened up my eyes and taught me a lot about what can happen to us, with or without a diagnosis.
Directed by Tylor Norwood, Robin’s Wish is a truly heartbreaking look into the life of Robin Williams and the year leading up to his death. With accounts from his wife, loved ones, friends, colleagues and neighbours, the truth is unveiled and personal stories about this wonderful man are told.
I wouldn’t expect a dry eye when watching this but it’s something that should be watched, whether you’re a fan of this man or not. The doctors in the film who talk more in detail about the disease go on to say just how severe it can be, and that it’s “fatal” for those who have it. There is no cure (that we know of) and that it affects so many of us without realising it. Even when Robin went for endless brain scans and medical checks, the disease never showed up until it was too late.
Since his death, Susan has gone above and beyond to find the true cause of his suicide and to help other people prevent their loved ones from going through the same thing. Endless suffering, confusion and a mixture of other symptoms like anxiety, depression, delusions and hallucinations, insomnia and self doubt just to name a few. A year after his passing she finally got the chance to tell the world what really happened, and for those people to start learning the truth that he was “not in his right mind”. It wasn’t Robin that killed himself, it was the disease.
Robin’s Wish contains footage from his past films as well as footage from live gigs and interviews. These parts of the documentary are a joy to watch and they remind you that he was a great man that everyone seemed to love and respect. He wanted nothing but to please people and to be amongst his friends and loved ones. He had a huge heart that was clearly too big and his ultimate goal in life was to “help people feel less afraid” because after all, he was human too and nothing was ever as perfect as we think it to be. This film is raw, utterly heartbreaking but incredibly insightful and inspiring to watch – one I will not forget in a while.