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Parents' Guide to

Patch Adams

By Nell Minow, Common Sense Media Reviewer

age 13+

True-story medical tale is made shallow and sentimental.

Movie PG-13 1998 115 minutes
Patch Adams Poster Image

A Lot or a Little?

What you will—and won't—find in this movie.

Community Reviews

age 13+

Based on 4 parent reviews

age 13+

This film is half funny/ half sad.

This film is uplifting although. It contains sick patients dieing, off screen murder, suicide attempts ,and crude humour.
age 13+

a fun movie with fun and unexpected twists

The title character, played by Robin Williams and based on a true story, had a mental illness, for which he spent some time in a mental hospital. Once released he decided to go to medical school so he could treat patients in a way that worked for him- with laughter. That he did and did well. His unconventional ways did not sit well with the faculty, especially the dean of the medical school, who tried to stop Patch from getting the degree that he rightly earned. But Patch won the appeal. This movie is filled with enough suspense to keep the audience on its toes. This movie celebrates a character and ideas that were ahead of their time.

Is It Any Good?

Our review:
Parents say (4 ):
Kids say (9 ):

There are a lot of important points to be made in this nonetheless shallow movie. It's about the dignity that all of us deserve when we are scared and vulnerable, and about the importance of humor in the direst of circumstances. But Patch Adams undercuts its own arguments by presenting us with a hero who is more narcissistic than humanitarian.

If the real-life Robin Williams were a doctor, he would be the real-life Patch Adams, who believes that doctors should treat the patient, not the disease, and that sick, frightened people need to feel that those who take care of them are paying attention. Unfortunately, PATCH ADAMS is so unforgivably manipulative that in the concluding climactic scene, set in a courtroom just in case you weren't sure who the good guys and the bad guys were, you may find yourself rooting for the uptight by-the-rulebook dean of the medical school.

Movie Details

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