Boulevard, film review: Robin Williams in last role to hit cinemas

Robin Williams stars in Boulevard, his last on-screen appearance

Robin Williams stars in Boulevard, his last on-screen appearance - Credit: Archant

In Boulevard, Robin Williams plays a dissatisfied, unhappy man living a lie, who feels like he’s wasted his life.

This is not actually his final film, but it is the last to make it into cinemas and this quirk of releasing gives the film a cruel poignancy.

Williams’s own double life was flipping between the aggressive, attention-hogging comedian and the straight actor.

The first was a joyous ball of energy and invention. The second was a pitiful, abused puppy, who was so self-effacing and so reticent, his neck visibly retracting into his shoulders, that he was like a willing doormat who invited abuse in the hope that this would earn him the audience’s love.

His character Nolan is so repressed that it takes him 60 years to build up to a double life.

The problem with Boulevard is that his version of a closeted gay man is a very ‘Straight Robin Wiliams’ dramatic creation.

Nolan can’t just decide one night to pick up a prostitute (Aguire) on a street corner and have sex with him.

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Instead, he picks up Leo, takes him to a motel, doesn’t have sex with him, gives him money and gives him a phone to ring him with.

Rather than gay, maybe he was closeted masochistic all these years because his every action is designed to cause himself misery, which Williams greets with the kind of sanguine look of discontent that he used throughout his career.

It doesn’t help that the plotting of this late-in-life suburban tragedy seems to have been pinched from Terry and June episodes.

Every time he is with Leo, he bumps into someone he knows. His covering up of lies gets caught out almost immediately.

Rating: 2/5 stars.

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