A gay nightclub owner and his partner agree to pretend to be straight
so their son can introduce them to his fiancée's conservative parents.
The Birdcage (1996)
Directed by Mike Nichols
Written by Elaine May
Starring Robin Williams, Nathan Lane, Gene Hackman,
Dianne Wiest, Dan Futterman, Calista Flockhart, Hank Azaria, Christine Baranski, Tom McGowan, Grant Heslov
Remake of 1978's La Cage aux Folles
Based on the stage play La Cage aux Folles by Jean Poiret
Oscar Nominations - Best Art Direction
The Birdcage is an uproarious comedy from the mid-90's that could only be the product of Robin Williams's flawless talent in creating characters. He leads an hysterical cast in a film that's remarkably as progressive as it is hilarious. I've never seen the original French film, but if it's half as good as the American remake, it's a comedy gem. It's a perfect example of everything going wrong at once at the worst possible time, and the film is basically a build-up to the third act, where the actual meeting of the in-laws takes place.
Despite being a remake, it feels like an original comedy because of its talented cast of character actors, particularly Nathan Lane as arguably the most flamboyant character I've ever seen. His constant bickering with Robin Williams (his husband) make for some great laughs throughout, especially once they meet Gene Hackman's morally self-righteous senator. Hackman plays a role that is genuinely out of his wheelhouse, but fits him like a glove. I never thought I'd ever see Lex Luthor in drag, but The Birdcage delivered it to me in a white dress and two pounds of makeup.
The Birdcage is a film that treats homosexuality in film the way it should be treated, like a normal part of everyday life. There's very little in this film about gay rights or lack thereof, mostly because the film is essentially a celebration of the gay lifestyle, which I'll admit looks pretty fun. I like this film so much because it doesn't shy away from the flamboyant side and just lets every gay character be as gay as they possibly can be. And with a cast like this, that's quite gay.