Hertfordshire film critic Barry Norman in storm over Robin Williams tribute

Barry Norman

Barry Norman - Credit: Archant

Datchworth-based film critic Barry Norman has raised eyebrows with an “honest tribute” to Robin Williams – which said the late star’s talent could be spread so thin it was “sometimes invisible”.

Writing in The Radio Times magazine, the 80-year-old film expert questioned Williams’ legacy.

The Good Morning Vietnam, Good Will Hunting and Mrs Doubtfire star was found dead at his home last week, at the age of 63.

Norman wrote: “It’s hard to know what to make of Robin Williams.

“Admiration is called for, but also sadness, not just for his tragic death but for an enormous talent which, if not exactly unfulfilled, could sometimes be spread so thinly as to be almost invisible.

“Every actor makes bad films occasionally but what was remarkable about Williams was not that he was so good in the good ones but that he was so very bad in the bad ones.

“He made no secret of his addiction to drugs and alcohol but there was another addiction, which he never admitted but which became increasingly evident in his own work – to saccharine, tooth-rotting sentimentality.

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“Were the bad films made when drink or drugs played their part?

“You might also ask, what caused a man of such gifts to rely so heavily on drink and drugs?”

The piece provoked fierce debate among fans, with many taking to social networking sites to voice their opinions.

Twitter user @BremnersLaces said: “Think Barry Norman’s critique of Robin Williams is harsh. Some of his “saccharine” films are my favourites. Surprised at his cruel critique.”

And @fski31 wrote: “Seems Barry Norman is getting flak over his Robin Williams piece. Not sure why, Williams *was* in a lot of dreadful films.”