Daniel’s apartment… pre-furnished? Oil paintings on the walls? Would a recently divorced father of three be concerned with hanging paintings?
Can we all agree that Mrs. Doubtfire is a ’90s classic? Robin Williams at his finest.
It’s been a long time since I’ve actually watched the movie. And in re-watching it recently, I couldn’t help but notice something about Williams’ character, Daniel’s apartment. It really doesn’t look like the apartment of a recently divorced father of three. Especially one with the personality of Daniel Hillard.
Here’s the thing… Daniel has been married to Miranda (Sally Field) for at least 14 years. We can assume it’s been at least 14 because in the fight that leads to their divorce, Miranda says they’ve been trying to “work at it” for 14 years. Whether that’s the life of the entire marriage or if there were a few happy years prior to that, we can’t know given the information provided in the movie.
Miranda is an interior designer. So a guy like Daniel, who is a continually out of work actor, has no need to know anything about decorating a home. In the divorce, Miranda gets the kids. She gets the house. And, presumably, she gets everything in the house, minus Daniel’s clothing.
When Daniel gets on his feet and has his own apartment, it’s fully furnished and has oil paintings on the walls. To be honest, it kind of looks like he took over the apartment from an elderly shut in who decorated the place in the late ’70s. It just doesn’t look like the kind of thing that a recently divorced man in his 40s would do to a one bedroom apartment.
I think of this as a single guy, myself. Decorating an apartment is not a necessity. For me, the apartment should simply be functional. Comfortable places to sit. A TV for entertainment. Stuff on the wall is not the priority. Sure, it looks nice to have the place decorated decently, but if I were in Daniel Hillard’s shoes, decoration would not be the priority.
He’s got his own place for the first time in at least 14 years. He was unemployed at the time of the divorce and is forced to put himself under the microscope on a regular basis for a social worker/court liaison who will help determine if Daniel should or should not receive partial custody of his kids. His priority should be making sure the kids have a place to stay when they’re with him… that it’s safe and clean and that’s about it.
The oil paintings that we see throughout the apartment when his liaison comes over for her weekly inspection just don’t make any sense.
Unless it’s an apartment that came as is, already furnished. But it’s clear, later in the movie, that Daniel makes improvements to the place. He takes down the old paintings, replacing them with something a little more modern. Or, as modern as the ’90s allowed them to be. His living room furniture is different. Being Mrs. Doubtfire taught him how to be a responsible adult, meaning he could keep a clean apartment and cook a healthy dinner for his kids. But that doesn’t really explain the change in decoration, does it?
People who have seen my place have told me they’re impressed with the way it’s decorated. I assume they’re surprised because I’m a single guy and the stereotype is that we can’t decorate very well. I’ll admit, the biggest reason there’s a common thread in the look of my place is due to my mother’s influences when I was moving in. So, again, I can’t help but question the validity of the things we see around Daniel’s apartment when he first moves in.
I mean, the mess makes sense. Old Chinese take-out boxes and clothes in random places around the living room, that stuff tracks. I just can’t let go of those old oil paintings over the sofa and going down the hallway…