Most of you may remember comedian Robin Williams for his funny turns as Mrs. Doubtfire or as Armand Goldman in The Birdcage. You may also remember his fun roles in Jumanji and Hook as well as his great vocal role as Genie in Disney’s Aladdin. But Robin Williams also had a serious side to his work. He was in Good Will Hunting, Patch Adams, and One Hour Photo. Another one of his more serious turns came with What Dreams May Come and this movie can now be watched free on IMDB TV.
What Dreams May Come is based on a 1978 Richard Matheson novel of the same name, dealing with life after death, heaven and hell, and reincarnation. The movie takes a different approach from the novel, changing many of Matheson’s novel to suit the screen. The movie follows Robin Williams’ Dr. Chris Nielsen. He is vacationing in Switzerland when he meets Annie (Annabella Sciorra), an artist. They quickly fall in love and marry and have two children. But their life is about to change horrifically when the two kids die in a car crash. Four years after their tragic deaths, more tragedy strikes as Chris also gets killed in a car accident.
At first, Robin Williams’ Chris is unaware that he is dead as he attempts to interact with people, only to have them ignore his advances. He tries to communicate with Annie, but unable to, and is heartbroken as he sees her try to cope with his loss. Chris is told the more he tries to communicate with Annie, the more sorrow she will feel. He ignores this but upon seeing how much grief he is causing he decides it is time to move on.
When he reaches Heaven, Robin Williams is greeted by Albert (Cuba Gooding Jr.), an old friend from his medical residency, and a stewardess, Leona (Rosalind Chao) whom Chris admired when he was alive. Annie, though, still alive is unable to handle the grief of all the loss in her life. She commits suicide. Chris relieved that Annie’s suffering is no longer but finds out that those who commit suicide can’t enter Heaven and will remain in Hell for the rest of eternity. Chris decides he will rescue Annie from Hell and bring her to Heaven.
Albert tells him that no one has ever been able to take someone who has killed themselves and bring them to Heaven. But Chris doesn’t care and off he goes on his Hell-bound journey. Robin Williams character realizes before he travels to Hell that Albert is really his son Ian and Leona is actually his daughter Marie. He leaves them both in Heaven to find their mother.
Chris, now accompanied by a tracker (Max Von Sydow) finally finds Annie but life in Hell is just that. Annie has no memory of her suicide and Chris is told if he stays with Annie for more than a few minutes, he will be trapped in Hell permanently. Chris chooses to stay with Annie in Hell, but their story doesn’t end there. Not by a long shot.
What Dreams May Come was a 1998 release during a time when Robin Williams was stepping away from his balls out comedic performances and looking for more meaty roles to chew on. His performance as Chris came immediately after he took on his Academy Award Best Supporting Actor role in Good Will Hunting, so a delve into the more serious fare wasn’t unexpected.
Upon its release, What Dreams May Come hit the box office at #2. It was unable to hold that ranking as critics and fans seemed mixed with their respective reactions. Overall, the film brought in $75 million at the box office but the problem there was that it cost director Vincent Ward almost $90 million to make. This represented a small setback for Robin Williams, as he followed Dreams up with Patch Adams, Jakob the Liar, Bicentennial Man, One Hour Photo, and Death to Smoochy.
The world was shocked when Robin Williams took his own life by hanging in 2014. He had just finished filming A Merry Friggin’ Christmas and Night at the Museum: Secret of the Tomb and was also scheduled to be part of the final night of a Monty Python Show in London but had cancelled stating he was suffering from severe depression. The world lost a true comedic genius.
If you want to see a more serious side of Robin Williams, IMDB TV is simple to use. Just create a free account with IMDB and venture over to their movie listings to see what they offer. There you will find Robin Williams in What Dreams May Come.