Robin Williams: A Heartwarming Tale of Friendship and Laughter with Paralyzed Superman, Christopher Reeve

PARK CITY, Utah – In 1995, after suffering a tragic horse-riding accident that left him paralyzed from the neck down, Christopher Reeve received a visit from his close friend Robin Williams to bring a moment of laughter during his hospital stay. This heartwarming anecdote is captured in the documentary “Super/Man: The Christopher Reeve Story,” which premiered at the Sundance Film Festival.

Reeve and Williams, who were roommates at Juilliard, had a deep bond that lasted throughout their lives. Williams played a crucial role in lifting Reeve’s spirits during his darkest moments, even buying the Reeve family a specially retrofitted van to attend an appearance at the Academy Awards following the accident. Williams also became an advocate for disabilities and joined the board of the Christopher & Dana Reeve Foundation.

The film explores Reeve’s life, from his early days as Superman to his final years in a wheelchair. Through interviews with Reeve’s children, friends, and former partner Gae Exton, the documentary provides a raw and vulnerable look into Reeve’s journey and the impact he had on those around him. Despite his tragic death at the age of 52 from an infection, Reeve’s legacy lives on through his foundation, which now supports millions of people living with disabilities.

The documentary takes a reflective approach, blending narration from interviews and Reeve’s post-accident memoir, “Still Me.” It also delves into the controversy surrounding Reeve’s advocacy for a cure and the pushback he faced from the disabled community. The film showcases artistic flourishes, such as a computer-generated bronze statue of Reeve that symbolizes his deteriorating body.

The emotional impact of the film was evident during its premiere, with audience members expressing their deep emotional reactions. The Reeve family believes that now, 20 years after Reeve’s passing, it is the right time to share their story. By entrusting the filmmakers with their personal archive of home videos, Matthew Reeve and his siblings hope to create a poetic and intimate portrayal of their father.

The documentary serves as a tribute to Reeve’s dedication to his family and his tireless efforts to improve the lives of people living with disabilities. It is a testament to the enduring friendship between Reeve and Williams, who supported each other through the highs and lows of their lives.