I had a feeling this was going to be a good movie and it was. It is both a finely wrought character study and a story with more than enough suspense to keep you mesmerized. I would not be surprised if the lead actor gets an Oscar nomination for his role as a priest caught up in terrifying circumstances. There were several other excellent supporting roles in the movie, and the soundtrack score is gorgeous. If you like a good, powerful drama once in awhile don't miss it.
Much as I wanted to like this movie for its "homos vs. haters" plot I found myself disengaged from the opening scene. It is as if we have seen this movie many times before; thus it seemed dated and anything but "fresh". Even the soundtrack music grated. It is not so much that it was full of stereotypical behavior and dialogue; it was that there were no creative or unexpected touches to make those characters and dialogue compelling. The acting seemed sit-commish with an overkill of ham in the southern stew. I realize the story was supposed to be set in the past; still, it is hard to watch gay men so tongue-tied and passive in their reactions to verbal and physical assaults. The final victory (which we knew was coming from the first frame) was anticlimactic. I also did not buy that a young, very cute gay high schooler, even closeted, would betray other young gays by doing a homophobic minister's bidding to identify gays in the school who need "treatment and redemption", nor that a gay bar owner would force a man removing gay newsletters and posters to do a strip tease act in lieu of going to jail. Really? There were a few amusing moments in the movie, but by the time the loving gay couple had called each other "bitch" for the third time I was ready to relegate this one to the "well intended dud" pile.
I was curious about this movie after reading a review. It more or less kept my interest, but I also found its hipster tone a little grating at times. I enjoyed Michael Fassbender as the strange cat named Frank. Overall, it just didn't add up to much more than a few funny bits, some pathos, and a fair share of dissonant music-making.
This movie has been talked about and referenced so much, especially following Robin Williams' suicide, that I had to finally see it. I was kind of surprised to see what a low rating it got on the TOMATOMETER.. It was, first and foremost, sadly ironic in the "art imitating life" sense as he plays a character who was suicidal, not just once but at least twice in the movie. The movie itself was a pretty shameless exercise in dramatic overkill; I found the music particularly annoying, as it kept swelling over and over every time the script had another moment of high melodrama, (which was roughly every 10-15 minutes throughout). Still, I enjoyed some of Williams' clowning around with hospital patients, all of which apparently helped his character cope with his own depression. (And yes, this is basically a movie about depression, also ironic.) I also liked some of the "outsider rebel vs. the establishment" aspects of the movie, even if they stretched the limits of credibility for the sake of poetic license and sentimental entertainment. Patch Adams saw through a system full of pompous, humorless doctors, patient-unfriendly rules and regulations, submissive/uptight nurses, and a soulless, broken medical establishment that came to center more on profits and the maintenance of crusty, outdated tradition than the actual quality of patient care. Sadly, it's even worse now. The idealism, personal touch, and humanity has been largely sucked out of an industry increasingly lorded over by grotesque, profit-slurping insurance companies and clueless "boards of directors" with their stuffy and (usually) aged heads up their butts (otherwise known as the "bottom" line, which stinks every bit as much as it sounds). If you've ever been admitted to a hospital, you know that, for all the noble emphasis on "quality of care", it is an experience replete with bumbling and fumbling, leaving one grateful that insurance companies want you discharged home as soon as you can open your eyes and emit gas. As for Robin Williams, R.I.P. and thank you for the laughs; this may not have ben your best movie, but it certainly wore your heart on its sleeve. If only the filmmaker had not tried to turn it into an Oscar-baiting "Out of Africa".