Wednesday, July 21, 2010

The Birdcage (1996)

Stars : Robin Williams, Nathan Lane, Gene Hackman, Dianne Weist, Dan Futterman.

Directed by : Mike Nichols

Written by :Jean Poiret  Screenplay : Elaine May

An American gay story can be put in a lot of ways and had always had a lot of emotions but to put it as a comedy and that too a brilliant comedy is wonderful. I heard about it on a Robin Williams interview and with the title and being a gay story I thought would be a drama but it turned out to be an amazing comedy.

Armand Goldman (Robin Williams) owns a South Beach drag club "The Birdcage" and lives his domestic partner Albert(Nathan Lane) who also performs at the club as star "Starina". Armand has a son Val ( Dan Futterman) who is in love with Senator Kelly (Gene Hackman) a conservative man and president of "Coalition of Moral Order" and is seeking re-election. Val and his girl Barbara ( Calista Flockhart ) want their parents to meet but here is where the problem lies. Barbara hasn't told her parents the truth but has told them that Val's family is from Greece. The meeting of the two families and the commotion caused by the efforts made by Armand, Albert and Val to conceive the truth is the movie all about.

Robin Williams is one actor who can blow your mind with his performance and can out do any co-actor with his antics and superlative acting but this is one of those rare movies where Robin is outperformed by a co-star. Nathan Lane is the real hero of this extremely funny movie. Nathan Lane as Albert the star performer of the drag club was the standout performer for me in this movie. The way he walks, talks is completely awesome. His mannerism through out the movie were constant and he was always in the character. During one sequence he had to dress in a suit and act as a man which could be  very discomforting for anyone like her character and I could see his discomfort while wearing that suit and act like a man. Robin William is good as always, I felt it was a routine character and performance for him. Nathan and Robin as a team really lifted the movie with their performance. Gene Hackman as the conservative senator does a fine job. He does well specially in the sequences at the Coleman house. There is one more actor who deserves a mention is Hank Azaria as Agador the housekeeper. His character is hilarious and the way he kept the ascent and mannerism intact is commendable.

The story is a screen adaptation of a stage play by the name "La Cage aux Folles" written by Jean Poiret. The screenplay for the movie is written by Elaine May. The comedy is largely situational so the writer gets a lot of credit for making the movie entertaining. Director Mike Nichols also does a good job by not going over the top with the character sketches.

It is one of the better comedies and is taken up a notch by the performances of Nathan Lane, Robin Williams and Hank Azaria. Its a very entertaining movie and is a definite watch if you like comedies.

Plus : Nathan Lane, Robbin Williams, Hank Azaria and wonderful situational writing.

Minus:  Had a good laugh what more do I look for.

Rating: 8/10

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