In 2009, Robin Williams starred in a movie that barely made a blip on most people’s radars; the black comedy “World’s Greatest Dad.” Now, in light of Williams’ apparent suicide, that film takes on a whole new meaning.
In the movie, Williams plays Lance, a lonely teacher and father. Lance’s teenage son Kyle is obnoxious, crude, and obsessed with sex. One night, Kyle accidentally dies while attempting auto-erotic asphyxiation. Embarassed, Lance makes it look like his son intentionally killed himself, complete with a well-crafted suicide note. At first, no one is moved by Kyle’s apparent “suicide,” but when the poignant note that Lance wrote is discovered, Kyle becomes a posthumous icon for teenage angst and alienation.
The story of Kyle’s strife was entirely fabricated, but his former classmates take comfort and consolation in this made-up narrative. Suddenly caught up in a lie that has taken on a life of its own, Lance must decide what is more important: the truth of who Kyle really was, or the public perception of him as a hero.
In the end, Lance confesses that Kyle was far from perfect, but that he loved him anyway, warts and all.
It was never a secret that Robin Williams battled cocaine addiction and alcoholism, but now that he’s gone, his struggles with substance abuse and depression have naturally come to the forefront of the conversation about him. Sure, he was a rubber-faced comedian and a hilarious improviser in public, but he was a much more complicated and conflicted person in private.
That’s OK. We still love him.
Warts and all.