It’s Pride Month, so I want to talk about one of my favorite comedies: The Birdcage. A remake of the Franco-Italian film, La Cage aux Folles, The Birdcage is about a gay cabaret owner and his husband who have to pretend to be straight for one night.
Armand Goldman (Robin Williams) and Albert Goldman (Nathan Lane) run a drag club in South Beach, Florida called the Birdcage. They also live in an apartment above the club, so it’s always loud and vibrant. When their son, Val Goldman (Dan Futterman), announces that he’s getting married, and that his fiancee is bringing over her conservative parents, the Goldmans will have to “turn it down a notch.”
This is a hilarious movie filled with great moments. Williams and Lane work off of each other well and are convincing as a gay couple. Lane is gay in real life so that helped, and while Williams wasn’t, he acted appropriately. He’s more serious than Lane, but still carries the charm needed and is a delight to watch; I’ll even say that this was one of his best comedic roles.
There’s nothing offensive about the movie. Though, I suppose the one exception would be the flamboyant housekeeper, Agador Spartacus (Hank Azaria). Spartacus’ over the top sassiness can be a bit much, but since it’s a comedy I don’t take heed to it. Agador is a likable character anyways, and he has some good scenes. He also has to pretend to be straight, which means he can’t walk around the apartment shirtless like he usually does.
Who I don’t like, however, is Val. He shows up out of the blue and is like “Hey, Dads, I know I haven’t been back home in a long time, but I just got engaged to this lovely girl and I invited her and her parents to come over to visit, so can you straighten out the place? And yourselves? Oh, and did I mention that her dad’s a Republican senator? Yeah, you guys need to tone it down here. You got only a day by the way.”
Okay, he doesn’t exactly say that, and we’re shown that he does care for both his dads, but he does have this attitude throughout the film that gets under my skin. Fortunately, everything works out fine in the end.
Anyways, back to the good. Again, this is a hilarious film with a lot of quotable lines and moments. I can’t exactly say which moments I love since I don’t want to spoil anything. I’ll just say that the bantering between Armand and Albert are the highlights. Even the conservative parents are entertaining to watch, and when they all finally meet for dinner, it’s a great mixture of awkwardness and hilarity.
Overall, The Birdcage is a delightful film that will keep you engaged throughout. It can be silly to the point that it’s a bit much, but it’s a comedy so it shouldn’t be taken too seriously. The relationship between the characters is what makes this film stand out, and it’s just all-around fun. If you haven’t seen it before, you should check it out. During these strange times, we can all use a good laugh.