The Fisher King
I’m a big fan of the movie The Fisher King. I admire Terry Gilliam’s work, and this movie holds a special place in my heart and memory, as I think I first saw this film in that in-between era of high school and college.
There’s a certain feel to this film that I just love. It’s quirky, and moves between comedy and drama. But there are these incredibly touching moments to me, where the movie almost pans back and feels like a Renaissance painting. It’s hard to describe without showing you some clips.
Of course, Robin Williams is fantastic. But beyond his presence, I’m really taken by the performances by both Michael Jeter and Mercedes Ruehl (who won a Best Supporting Actress Oscar, for her role in the movie).
A quick synopsis, without spoilers: Jack Lucas (Bridges) is a former radio personality, who has fallen from grace. He encounters Parry (Williams), a homeless man who believes he is on a quest for the Holy Grail. As their lives intertwine, the two slowly become friends and Bridges attempts to help Williams meet the woman he is in love with (Lydia).
In this scene, Parry is at Grand Central Station and spots Lydia, on her way to work:
This is the dinner scene, where Jack and Anne (Ruehl) have conspired to have Parry and Lydia share a meal together, all of them on a double date. It’s a silly moment, but I love the way the music kicks in with Williams’ singing and the way the camera pans back, to reveal all the other restaurant workers:
And a snippet of why Mercedes Ruehl is phenomenal:
Gilliam really has a way of evoking illness/chaos with his hospital scenes. One of my favorite moments with Jeter is with Bridges, where he’s cradling him in his arms. And amidst all the cacophony and craziness, Jeter’s moment of sober lucidity (and his invocation of the AIDS epidemic) is just chilling.
And a bonus cameo from Tom Waits: