My review of the movie “The Fisher King”

Thingy blogged about the movie The Fisher King the other day and encouraged her readers to see it, so I made a mental note to check it out sometime soon. Then it so happened that it was on TV last night.  I missed the first half hour or so, but since I’d already read the plot synopsis I could follow it pretty well.

It was very weird–which I expected as soon as I heard Terry Gilliam was involved–but also very cute.  I missed the darkest part of the story, though they had occasional flashbacks to it.  The main characters, played by Robin Williams, Jeff Bridges, Mercedes Ruehl and Amanda Plummer are indeed excellent, and they work especially well together. Ruehl won the Academy Award for her performance, and Williams was nominated for his.

I think I’d heard of the myth of “the Fisher King“, probably in The Golden Bough or something, but the version I remembered was different than as told in this movie.  One thing I thought interesting was the “Red Knight” creature, which seemed to be used as an allegory for the trauma suffered by the Robin Williams character. It was very cool looking, yet at the same time, it did remind me strongly of the knight armor designs from Monty Python and the Holy Grail, which I suppose Gilliam designed.

One minor point: I couldn’t actually figure out why the Jeff Bridges character had to break into the castle and steal the “cup” the Robin Williams character thought was the Grail.  Maybe this was made more clear in the part I missed, (I’ll have to watch the whole thing) but it seemed like the point of the “Fisher King” story was that the Grail just gets grabbed by accident, not after a “quest”.

Even if it isn’t explained, it doesn’t matter, because even if it doesn’t make sense from a logic perspective, it completely works on an emotional level.  Important dramatic lesson: plot holes can be forgiven if they work for the characters and resonate with the audience.  I read that somewhere.

All in all, it’s a very enjoyable movie.  It was a bit strange, but very good.


  1. I like strange, and yes, there is a reason Jeff goes to the tower for the grail. Just seeing him in that hat made me sigh. Probably not a guy thing, though. I hope the next time I see it, it will be just as sweet to me. Sometimes movies have a way of doing that for me.

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