In 1965 Adrian Cornauer is assigned to the US Armed Services radio station out in Vietnam, moving from Crete. His humour is very popular with the troops and he manages to raise spirits but some of the management aren’t so keen on him!
Good Morning, Vietnam feels like two films mashed into one but does so in the best possible manner. Mixing the sadness and trauma of war with the comedy values that confirm that no matter the situation you still need to find time to laugh.
It was never going to be easy for Adrian Cronauer arriving in Vietnam and quickly realising that important information and actual real news was being kept from the troops fighting for the US. It isn’t until he experiences a bombing when this completely breaks his spirit when he is coming to terms with what happened and that he was very close to it. Then this was not being told as news to the troops, something that he attempts to do forgetting what was on the pieces of paper with all of the red scribbles through what not to read. It doesn’t take long though for the radio to then be switched off.
His friendship with Edward Garlick is a joy to watch and it certainly makes you realise how much Cronauer made a difference when he keeps trying to force him to see that he has managed to keep the spirits of the troops at a high. I think that was my favourite scene in the film when he was making jokes and getting them all involved in the street. Especially when you’d see him realise the impact he has had as they drive off, for a lot of them it could well be to death. But he had brought them a moment of happiness and escapism from the wicked reality they were all living.
Along with that he had quickly chased a girl around and attempting to go out with her. This is when he meets her brother Tuan while teaching an English class. Although he is not at all what he seems. Not everyone was innocent and that is a brutal lesson to be learnt. I thought some of the scenes with the class were very nice and heartwarming as well, especially the baseball scene.
It’s quite strange to accept that comedy and laughter is something that is probably needed more than anything during a war. To help soldiers switch off and forget about the brutal reality and bad times they are currently in. Being able to just laugh and that was what Cronauer brought to the base and area, through the power of the radio.
Robin Williams is truly outstanding in this film and more than deserved his Best Actor Oscar nomination. It just seemed the perfect role for him to take on with his comedy background and the timing of this being so good, especially during the broadcasts and the scene which turns into like a standup show in the street with the troops around him. But as well as that being able to show off his emotional range and incredible acting ability. Something which you don’t see very often within one film, but he is given that perfect chance within this emotional journey of a film.
In terms of support the cast is pretty impressive with Forest Whitaker, Bruno Kirby and J.T. Walsh all offering good performances. Also must mention Tom T. Tran as I felt his performance was impressive as well.