"If I only had a heart"
Bicentennial Man
Review by Ross Anthony

Patiently directed (occasionally too patiently), "Bicentennial Man" is warm and cuddly, but not the over-the-top kind of comedy or intensity we've come to expect from Robin Williams. Which probably accounts for at least some of the negative reaction to it. The schmaltz factor remaining in tact, the tale becomes kind of an E.T. matures and falls in love story. Not too exciting for kids, but not bad for we -- more matured types.

Spanning a couple hundred years (hence the title) in a smidgen over two hours, we follow the "life" of Android "Andrew" from his introduction to the Martin family in 2005. Andrew shows a propensity towards art and culture (fixing an old record player and mellowing to Mozart) not common (or explicable) to Androids of his series. Able to simulate expression with blinking eyes and raise-able brows, Andrew personifies man's own quest to understand and better express himself as he seeks humanity.

The film raises interesting questions regarding humankind's ability to assimilate (on a mass scale) appliances that become too human. But, it's main point is Andrew's quest and ultimate ability to fall in love.

Outstanding performance by Wendy Crewson as she plays two or three members of the Martin family over three generations. All others are fine as is the script and direction, though this gently paced movie drags at a point or two.

  • Bicentennial Man. Copyright © 1999. Rated PG.
  • Starring Robin Williams, Sam Neill, Wendy Crewson, Embeth Davidtz, Oliver Platt.
  • Directed by Chris Columbus.
  • Screenplay by Nicholas Kazan.
  • Produced by Columbus, etc. at Columbia Pictures.


Copyright © 1999. Ross Anthony, currently based in Los Angeles, has scripted and shot documentaries, music videos, and shorts in 35 countries across North America, Europe, Africa and Asia. For more reviews visit: RossAnthony.com

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Last Modified: Saturday, 16-Sep-2006 08:19:04 PDT