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Good Morning, Vietnam


Roger Davidson

Good Morning, Vietnam
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This tailor-made comedy-drama for Robin Williams could be considered the M*A*S*H of the Vietnam Era. Williams plays real-life radio personality Adrian Cronauer, who tears the Armed Forces radio a new asshole, where he provides some truly hysterical commentary about life in Saigon. At the same time, he is forced to see the horrors going on around him, when he becomes a friend of a Vietnamese boy, who is secretly involved with the Viet Cong. He also tries to dodge the attempts by his superiors to keep him from reporting what's REALLY going on in Vietnam.

Williams has rarely been funnier, and has most certainly never been given a more poignant role as that of Cronauer. He is supported by an able cast, which includes Forest Whitaker as Williams guide through life in Nam, Robert Wuhl as a fellow radio personality and Bruno Kirby as Williams stuffed-shirt superior. Like M*A*S*H, the film provides moments that combine outrageous humor and that make powerful anti-war statements as well. One scene in particular is very touching. It involves Williams doing a live commentary for a group of soldiers in army trucks, men of all races going off to fight and die for their country. The performance goes off smashingly, and as the boys drive off into the jungle, Williams looks at them sadly and longingly. It's as if to say "What a waste of fine young boys." In that one moment, the film gets its message across, without having to preach one word against war.

The director Barry Levinson handles this brilliantly. He also accomplishes a near impossible task of getting Williams to show his dramatic side. It's a side of Williams that, up until this time, nobody had ever seen before. This is a film that doesn't just make you laugh and cry, but makes you laugh and cry all in the same scene. That is some mighty good filmaking.

My Rating = Four Stars

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