It's been twenty years since the premiere of The Birdcage, an adaptation of the 1973 French play and1978 Franco-Italian film, La Cage aux Folles. With a budget of 31 million dollars, Mike Nichol's film went on to make more than $185 million at the box office, making it a clear success among filmgoers and a darling of the critics. A great part of this success was due to the wonderful performances of Robin Williams and Nathan Lane. However, I keep wondering if the reactions of the audience would be different now in 2016. Let's take a look at the plot.
Armand Goldman (Robin Williams) is the owner of a successful drag club in Florida where his long time partner, Albert (Nathan Lane) stars as "Sarina", the main attraction of the club. Armand's biological son, Val (Dan Futterman) has recently proposed to his college girlfriend Barbara (Calista Flockhart). To celebrate their impending nuptials, a family dinner is organized with the bride's parents in attendance. The problem with this plan? The bride's parents are ultraconservative Republican Senator Kevin Keely (Gene Hackman) and his wife, Louise (Dianne Wiest). The young couple, afraid of the repercussions due to the groom's peculiar parentage, they collide with Armand and Albert to make them both pass as righteous heterosexual males. To complete the scheme Val's biological mother, Katherine (Christine Baranski) is invited to play the part of Armand's wife, but things spiral miserably out of control and when she fails to make it on time and Albert dons on a wig and dress in order to pretend to be Val's mother.
The comedic elements of the film vary from the transformation of Albert to a manly-man, to the fact that Val ask his parents to go by the last name Coleman to hide their Jewish heritage. Nowadays a film a film wouldn't allow for such repression of a character or person's true nature.
I think that by today's standards the LGBT community wouldn't let a couple as caring as Albert and Armand's hide their relationship. Just take a look at how Modern Family portrays Cameron and Mitchell. Isn't that nice?
Definitely since it's release twenty years ago The Birdcage helped in the recognition of an un-traditional family mold. Good parents will be good parents no matter what their sexual preferences. If you haven't seen this film, you might want to check it out just to see how some things have changed in twenty years. Some other things, like extremist right wing politicians... well not everything can change in two decades.