The Birdcage features the story of Armand (Robin Williams), who owns a drag club in Miami’s South Beach and whose domestic partner, Albert (Nathan Lane), is the star drag queen, “Starina”. His son, Val, is engaged and wants his father to meet his fiancée’s parents, the father of which is an extremely conservative Ohio senator, Kevin Keeley.
Although it’s originally planned for his biological mother to attend the meeting, things go awry, and Albert tries to fake the role, while Armand’s flamboyant housekeeper miserably tries to pretend to be a butler and in-house chef, preparing quizzical dishes that serve to almost derail the event.
Armand and Albert nevertheless do their best to keep up the façade, which is broken down when Val’s mother arrives unaware of what has taken place, forcing the entire group to admit the truth. Although Senator Keeley is originally extremely displeased, he’s trapped due to the presence of paparazzi outside the home. Finally, the Keeleys agree to Albert’s plan to dress them in drag so that they might go unnoticed, a plan which goes off without a hitch. Val and his fiancée marry at a ceremony with both families attending happily soon after.
“The film is so boisterously entertaining that it’s easy for the unsuspecting viewer not to realize that there’s a message here.”
— James Berardinelli, ReelViews
“A spirited remake of the French drag farce, has everything in place, from eyeliner to one-liner.”
— Desson Thomson, Washington Post
— Owen Gleiberman, Entertainment Weekly
Did You Know?
The Birdcage was based on the French-Italian comedy of La Cage aux Folles, and opened to an overall very positive reception. It was Robin Williams’ 7th film to make over $100 million in the United States, and enjoyed the status of having the largest opening weekend of a movie with an openly gay character until 2009’s Bruno. Review our Gay Themed Films here