Young love is grand. It is even grander when the parents of the young lovers meet. Especially when one set of parents are the owners of a drag night club and the other are a straight laced, right wing couple from Middle America.
This is the premise of the 1996 movie, The Birdcage. Based on the 1978 French film, La Cage aux Folles, both films ask what happens when two completely different sets of parents meet their child’s future in laws?
Armand Goldman (the late Robin Williams) and his longtime partner Albert (Nathan Lane) are the owners of a drag nightclub in Miami. Armand is the brain behind the scenes and Albert is the star of the show. Twenty years ago, Armand had a brief heterosexual fling with Katherine Archer (Christine Baranski). The result of that fling is their son, Val (Dan Futterman). Dan is now an adult and has recently announced that he is engaged.
His soon to be spouse is Barbara Keeley (Calista Flockhart), the daughter of the ultra conservative politician Sen. Kevin Keeley (Gene Hackman) and his wife Louise (Dianne Wiest). Val wants to invite his fiance and future in laws to meet his parents. Val and Armand try to cover up the truth about their family, but the truth, like all truths, has a way to slipping out.
Directed by the late Mike Nichols and written by Elaine May, this movie is nothing short of hilarious. But what strikes me, looking back on this film nearly 20 years after it’s release is how it helped to put one more brick on the road to LGBTQ equality. While this is only one movie, it helped to pave the way for gay men and women to be open with themselves and their loves ones.
I recommend it.