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Patch Adams Review

Other Critics provided by

Critics scores range from 0 to 100, with higher scores indicating more favorable reviews.

  • 2.0

    out of 100

    Generally unfavorable reviews
    based on a weighted average of all
    critic review scores.

  • 0

    out of 100

    Entertainment Weekly Lisa Schwarzbaum

    Oooh, this is toxic.

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  • 38

    out of 100

    Chicago Sun-Times Roger Ebert

    Made me want to spray the screen with Lysol. This movie is shameless. It's not merely a tearjerker. It extracts tears individually by liposuction, without anesthesia.

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  • 50

    out of 100

    ReelViews James Berardinelli

    The kind of film that will work for an audience that's just interested in having an emotional experience (with a happy ending) without caring how obviously or clumsily they are manipulated. I find this sort of sledgehammer film making to be offensive, but there are those who enjoy it.

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For Families provided by Common Sense Media

Iffy for 12+

True-story medical tale is made shallow and sentimental.

What Parents Need to Know

Parents need to know that much of Patch Adams takes place in a hospital and includes many emotionally intense scenes involving dying or sick patients. There is also an off-screen murder of one of the lead characters and past sexual abuse is strongly alluded to. Aside from this, the film does have some profanity, and Robin Williams' free-associative humor veers into the occasional off-color sexual reference and innuendo, plus one scene where his naked bottom is exposed.

  • Families can talk about the dignity that all of us deserve when we are scared and vulnerable and about the importance of humor in the direst of circumstances. Do you think the movie undercuts its message?
  • What do you know about the real Patch Adams. How can you learn more?
  • Who would play you in the movie about your life? What story would it tell? Write a scene that would appear in your life story.

The good stuff
  • message true3

    Messages: The film shows the importance and beneficial effects of laughter, and the positive results that can emerge when doctors see their patients as more than just their disease. It underscores the need for dignity and understanding when it comes to the sick and vulnerable.

  • rolemodels true3

    Role models: Patch Adams is an earnest and caring medical student, driven by a desire to help others and ease their suffering through humor and compassion. He makes some major mistakes that are glossed over in the movie.

What to watch for
  • violence false3

    Violence: An aspiring female doctor strongly hints at sexual abuse as a child; she is later murdered off-screen by a mentally disturbed former patient. A patient is given a realistic toy gun to shoot balloons made to resemble animals found on a safari. A suicidal patient is shown with knife scars up and down his arms.

  • sex false2

    Sex: Upon receiving his diploma, a student has the back side of his graduation gown open to reveal his naked buttocks. Some jokes include some sexual elements -- like a reference to a penis and a masturbation joke. A visual gag involves the word "cervix."

  • language false3

    Language: Occasional profanity includes "s--t," "p---k," and "ass."

  • consumerism false0

    Consumerism: Not an issue

  • drugsalcoholtobacco false2

    Drinking, drugs and smoking: Characters consume alcoholic beverages at a meat packers' convention and act boisterous.