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Patch Adams: Raging Against the Dying of the Light

            Patch Adams: Raging Against the Dying of the Light.
             Imagine lying in a bed with a disease. You sit in your frigid cot and think that no one even knows you"re there -- unless your machine starts to go off. The doctor doesn't care if you die today or die tomorrow, just as long as he gets paid. This is the grim reality for most of the unfortunate people who have terminal illnesses. This is the way many view their time in a hospital. .
             In the film Patch Adams, Robin Williams plays a doctor 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 ." (1) He is a 40 year old man who, after willingly committing himself to a mental institution, finds that the general treatment accorded patients is not the way to cure them. He believes that to cure the disease you must treat the patient as a person and not as an object. He first tries his philosophies out on his fellow mental patients. After helping a few of them he is determined to get away from the hospital and become a doctor so that he can treat people in a more humane and loving way.
             Many critics disliked this movie saying it was " another of those "based on a true story." One of the " feel-good movies that's designed to make us believe that there are two kinds of human beings - free-spirits (who are the good guys) and establishment-types (who are inevitably villains)."(2) Such a broad dismissal of the film likely reflects the fact that most critics have never had a loved one or a close friend die from a life-altering illness. If they had someone such as their grandmother or mother die from a disease that slowly takes their life from them, I believe they might criticize this and other cinema of the genre differently. People who have had loved ones or close friends die from terminal diseases know all too well the coldness of doctors who merely treat the disease, dismissing loved ones as if they were merely patients and not actual human beings.

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