What would you do if you only had 90 minutes to live?
Director Phil Robinson’s dark comedy “The Angriest Man in Brooklyn” stars the late Robin Williams as Henry Altmann in one of his last films to be released. Altmann is a real estate lawyer with an explosive temper dating back to the loss of his eldest son, Peter. Altmann learns from Dr. Sharon Gill (Mila Kunis) that he has an inoperable brain aneurysm and only an hour and a half to live. Altmann’s rage boils over, and he leaves the hospital before Gill can stop him.
Altmann then leads Gill on a wild goose chase around Brooklyn as he tries to reconnect with family and friends before his time runs out. Along the way, he manages to further strain his relationship with his wife (Melissa Leo) and his brother, Aaron (Peter Dinklage). The film’s climax comes when Altmann finally finds his estranged youngest son, Tommy (Hamish Linklater).
The film’s most poignant scene comes when Altmann tries to record a farewell message for his son Tommy. Altmann looks directly into the video camera and gives Tommy his blessing to follow his passion for dance, before working himself into a tirade of grief over losing Peter. Altmann’s anger at God and his regret over the choices he has made in his life is the most sincere moment of the film.
“The Angriest Man in Brooklyn” is about passing through the anger stage of grief and transitioning into acceptance. Once Altmann is able to rid himself of the malcontent that has plagued him for so long, he begins to appreciate all of the things that really made him happy: dancing with his son, long talks with his wife and eating brown bag lunches with his younger brother.
The film is incredibly over the top, but manages to ground itself in real emotion and small meaningful moments between the characters. The film features cameo appearances from James Earl Jones and Louie C.K. The movie’s all-star cast brings humor and passion to an otherwise predictable script.
“The Angriest Man in Brooklyn” was released just a few months before Williams’ suicide in August of 2014. Williams was suffering from Parkinson’s disease, depression and the beginnings of dementia at the time of his death. “The Angriest Man in Brooklyn” is a bittersweet farewell from the beloved man who made millions of people laugh and cry.