Science Fair Project Encyclopedia
Patch Adams (film)
The protagonist of the film is Hunter Adams (Robin Williams). After a suicide attempt he admitted himself to psychiatry in 1969. At the beginning he worries about his own problems, only. Step by step he gets in touch with the other patients. While he fixes a cup he receives a new name: Patch. Figuring out that when he treats other people's diseases he can forget about his own problems he decides to leave the mental hospital in order to study medicine.
Two years later Patch enrolls at Virginia Medical University and there are no doubts that he is the oldest first year student. He meets Mitch Roman (Philip Seymour Hoffman), a fellow student. The beginning lecture is given by Dean Walcott (Bob Gunton). Dean Walcott explains that human beings are not worthy to be trusted because men make mistakes. So he is going to make something better out of the students and this means doctors. When the lecture ended Patch tried to talk to Carin Fisher (Monica Potter) about what they have heard. She interprets this as an attempt to flirt and snubs him. In this way he gets to know Truman Ship (Daniel London ) and they both have lunch. Patch tells Truman his criticisms of the course: Is it right to have no contact with patients until third year? Is distance to the ones who are treated necessary? Patch begins developing his theory that it is necessary to have contact with patients to be able to treat them. Excited by Truman's statement that the human mind evolves conformity, they finish their meal and start experiments to alter the progammed responses. Patch begins to talk to strangers and acts on a packers event as a cattle owner. There he receives a coat. Wearing this most important item a doctor possesses he can visit the hospital incognito.
He goes into a ward where children with cancer are cured, and he makes them laugh and have fun. After he left the station Dean Walcott stands before him. Patch sees himself confronted with a private lecture on professional distance and transference where Dean Walcott orders that Patch stays out of the hospital.
Some days later Carin looks at the exam results that show Patch reached 98 of 100 points. So she recognizes his abilities. Patch uses the lucky moment to start a talk. Showing Carin a clown?s nose he explains his philosophy that laughing cures ill people and convinces her to fulfill a patient's last wish: a safari.
Patch experiences that not each patient accepts his treatment methods for the first time when he comes in contact with Mr. Davis (Peter Coyote). This leads to another talk with Dean Walcott: "Patients don't need to be entertained?" he asks. But for Patch being a doctor and increasing health means more than just to lain death, it is improving the quality of life.
A gynocologist's conference takes place at the campus a few days later, and an outstanding student Patch is responsible for decorating the conference room. Because he designs the entrance to be a big vagina he is dismissed from school. Only by the headmaster's recommendation he is allowed to attend school further.
Happily, he celebrates Carin's birthday in a room he filled entirely with balloons. Slowly, Carin starts opening herself for friendship with Patch.
The following night Patch reaches the call that Mr. Davis is dying. The patient who rejected Patch's attempts to help him recognized later how good Patch's ambitions were. So he wants to have him there when it is ending.
After this visit Patch walks through the hospital and sees a woman who wants to go to her dying child and is hindered because the staff force her to complete some forms first. Patch deepens his view that the current system has faults that are too big. He comes to the conclusion that the way to overcome these problems is to build his own clinic - a free fun-hospital where patients and doctors work hand in hand. Everybody shall give something for the community (e.g. cooking or washing someone). He wakes Carin to tell her his ideas and she expresses her doubts that his ideas would work. They decide to continue step by step.
With the help of Arthur Mendelson's (Harold Gould , who Patch met him in the mental home, he purchases 105 acres in West Virginia to construct the future Gesundheit Institute . Together with Truman, Carin and old friends he renovates an old cottage. When they get the clinic running they treat people from street or without medical insurance. The work costs a lot of energy but it is also motivating to be able to help. Carin is fascinated by Patch's talent to help and their friendship turns into deep love. More encouraged than ever by Patch and his spirit Carin wants to help Larry (Douglas Roberts ), a psychologically disturbed patient, by visiting him at home, where she is killed.
Patch?s world is destabilizing and he is devastated by Carin's death. He considers his ideas wrong because they based on a silly assumption: Men are good. He gets complexes and can not join the funeral. But in a butterfly moment he comprehends the divine plan. Thus reassured he builds up new forces.
He is dismissed from the school for a second time because he ran a clinic and practiced medicine without license. He must attend a hearing where it is decided whether he can graduate. Patch is able to convince the jury in a final speech that he did his best to help the people that came to him. In the end the jury accepts Patch?s medical methods and does not prevent him from graduating.
The film was shot in three locations: Treasure Island, California (near San Francisco), Asheville (North Carolina) and the University of North Carolina. A diner in Point Richmont served as the University Diner. This diner was also used in Mel Gibson's movie Forever Young. The production worked very closely with the Make-A-Wish Foundation. For this reason all the ill children acting in this film except two really have cancer. In the movie Hunter got the name "Patch" because he fixed a cup, but the real Patch does not know why he got his name.
A theatrical trailer and images are available under www.patchadams.com .
Maddox's critisim on Patch Adams 
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