A Film4-backed short directed by Kibwe Tavares and starrnig Daniel Kaluuya
Robin Williams swings his hips in a fluttery, farcical tale of family values and attitudes towards homosexuality. Nicely judged, generous performances and flamboyant costumes make this a sparkling treat
Colourful, camp, beautifully acted and brimming with gags, Mike Nichols The Birdcage sits comfortably in Hollywood's canon of unchallenging, 'It's OK to be gay' films. While mildly irritating much of America's gay community on its release, it was nevertheless a box office hit.
Based on the French play and film La Cage Aux Folles, and set in Miami's South Beach, Robin Williams dons gaudy shirts and tufty tash to play Armand Goldman, the owner of a successful drag night club. He lives with his boyfriend, the club's reigning star Albert (Nathan Lane). Their lives are turned upside down when Goldman's son - from his one heterosexual relationship years ago - Val (Dan Fullerton) announces his engagement to Barbara Keeley (a plumper Calista Flockhart), the daughter of a right-wing senator (Gene Hackman). Oblivious to their future son-in-law's unusual family set-up, Keeley's parents set out to visit Val's 'parents'. Meanwhile, Armand and Albert fret over how they are to fake 'normality'. And so the deftly choreographed comic chaos begins...
Aside from Williams' blazing performance - his best in years - the film's real strength lies in director Mike Nichols' skill at eliciting believable performances, and, in turn, a proud, bold examination of the traditional nuclear family.
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Film4.com editor Catherine Bray catches a late night screening of Amat Escalante's Heli... The first film I see in Competition at Cannes this year (aside from The Great Gatsby, which opened the festi