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Boulevard online movie review - Williams at his best and his darkest
Robin Williams' loss is certainly one of the biggest blows to Hollywood. He didn't make as many classics as he should have, and maybe he didn't choose wisely or he couldn't do it because of the way the world of movies works.
We know he left a legacy that includes "Mrs. Doubtfire", "Awakenings", "Aladdin" and a few other gems. He brought the very strange of Garp to reality, not disappointing those fans of the novel, and if you kept up with him, he brought to life an incredible trio of dark characters on TV and film, in films like "One Hour Photo", "Imsomnia", and in a couple of episodes of "Law and Order, SVU", and if you ever saw "The World's Greatest Dad", you know "Boulevard" was really quite a swan song. Oh yes, it could have been better, but it is truly above average, and it's one of Williams' best roles.
In "Boulevard" Nolan (Williams) has been married to a dutiful and devoted but aloof woman named Joy (Baker). Their marriage is an example of that situation where everyone involved is apparently satisfied with an arrangement that keeps both parties content but lacks passion, yet it manages to keep loneliness at bay. We really wonder how anyone can survive such an arrangement because for many it might just resemble a very crowded room where loneliness becomes more potent because there is no connection, where you might hunger for more company because there's no true connection to your mate. Either you resign yourself to it, or wonder into dangerous territories because once you stray, things might never be the same.
Fate places Nolan in such position, as he is unable to contain his urges anymore. He has fought them for a long time, and his own personality has enabled him to manage a semblance of normalcy for a long time. His work is monotonous, his wife supports him and doesn't question his idiosyncrasies, and life is at least tolerable. Nevertheless, he meets a young man, Leo (Aguirre), and he develops an obsessive need to be near him. We never truly understand how this works, but if you are a rational human being, you know that emotions sometimes defy logic, and it is this new impulsive obsession that begins to unravel Nolan's life.
Soon he is wandering at the most unexpected times, having furtive rendezvous with Leo, trying to change the young man's life, definitely passionate about his new friend but, in an interesting twist, he never really becomes physically involved with him. It doesn't matter because he's still making mistakes, cheating on his wife, confusing his boss and his best friend, and putting every aspect of his life at risk.
One thing that becomes more apparent is that Nolan is a lot stronger than we originally believed, and he changes, facing new obstacles, and surprising us with some of the way he manages to overcome some of them. People start judging what they see. Some condemn it, and others just watch, without interfering.
"Boulevard" shows that change is difficult, and there are some instances when even the slightest deviation from routine might lead to irreversible damage because no single individual is absolutely detached from the rest of society. The ending of the film hints at the possibility of happiness, but as we have seen throughout the story, happiness is a frail condition, and our world is dark and dangerous. If you manage to conquer the darkness, things might be o.k.