Commentary: What ‘Mrs. Doubtfire’ Can Teach Us All

by Frank Martin

On the surface, Mrs. Doubtfire is a goofy comedy about a man dressing up as an old lady. Below that surface is a deep story about the dynamics of family. But even simpler than that, the movie is a cautionary tale of sorts. Robin Williams’s character goes through an unbelievable transformation — and I’m not just talking about a physical one when he dresses up as a woman. He learns a very valuable lesson, and I believe it’s something that everyone should take notice of.

In the beginning of the film, his character, Daniel Hillard, is a carefree, fun father trying to give his kids the best time possible. Meanwhile, his wife, Miranda (Sally Field) is the hard-working breadwinner of the family resentful over her husband’s behavior. The relationship had been fractured for a long time, and it finally reached the tipping point that triggered the movie’s plot. The film ends on a relatively high point as Daniel comes back into the family fold and gets to spend time with his kids again. The sad part is the entire Mrs. Doubtfire saga — and even possibly the divorce — could have been avoided if only he had learned the lessons he discovered as Mrs. Doubtfire earlier.

Miranda needed somebody to cook and clean around the house, which is what her husband was failing to do in the first place. It was only once his kids were taken away from him that he learned to do these things because it was necessary in order to see them. The sad lesson here is that it took the loss of his children for this man to do what his wife wanted him to do in the first place. It’s very simple and far less complex than the movie’s message about family, but it’s nonetheless important. It is a morality story that hopefully people can learn from before it’s too late.

%d bloggers like this: