The Birdcage (1996) Essay

The Birdcage (1996)

            The motion picture “The Birdcage” was released in 1996 and directed by Mike Nichols. It is a film that tackles the story of engaged couple Val (Dan Futterman) and Barbara (Calista Flockhart) and how they managed to set up a meeting with their respective family. The story has something to do with the psychological aspect because of the concept of Homophobia in the film as displayed by Barbara’s father.

The main conflict of the story is the gender of Val’s parent as well as their nature of work. The Birdcage is the name of the drag club owned by his father Armand (Robin Williams) along with his drag queen partner Albert (Nathan Lane). The way of living of Val’s parents is the exact opposite of Barbara’s folks. She is the daughter of Ohio Senator Kevin Keeley (Gene Hackman) who always fights for moral order. He is also very vocal about how he fears homosexuality and is annoyed by people of this kind of gender. The engaged couple tried to find ways to settle the issue with the help of Val’s parents. They will come up with a story in order to avoid harsh reactions from the family of Barbara. They explained carefully that Armand has a cultural background of Greece and his partner Albert is a housewife and woman as well. The family name Goldman is changed to Coleman every time they are in Florida so that they can hide their Background as Jews.

A dinner was organized in order to save Kevin’s political career and divert the public’s attention because of his colleague’s death. They travelled out of town with a group of paparazzi chasing after them. The meeting between future in-laws was planned by Val’s family along with her biological mother Katherine (Christine Baranski). The climax of the story is when Barbara’s parents found out the real gender of Val’s parents and how they should escape the paparazzi that are waiting for them outside.  Kevin was terrified by the fact that his daughter’s future in law owns a gay nightclub. In spite of his willingness to go out of the scene, he can’t do anything because news crews are already waiting for them. The Goldman come up with a plan to dress the Keeleys as drag costumes because that way they will not get noticed by the people outside. It worked out and no humiliation was made against Senator Kevin Keeley. Finally, Val and Barbara were married through an interfaith ceremony.

The film is related to the psychological area because it tackles the colourful minds of the Goldman and how they tried everything to save Senator Keeley from the paparazzi. The character of Senator Keeley on the other hand is very evident that he is a homophobe but he cannot do anything than to go with the flow in order to save his career. Homophobia is considered as a mental disorder because it shows antipathy towards homosexuals (Homophobia Dictionary).  Diverting the attention and way of thinking is very apparent in the film as seen in the actions of various characters. This is one way of convincing people by psyching them out. It is effective on the part of Senator Keeley because he was able to survive homophobia and even dress up as a drag queen to hide his true identity. Deception and lies are part of the film but this is done in order to prove how much Val loves Barbara. He will do anything to save their relationship and this was supported by his parents. Morality is a big issue in the film but it changed the stereotypical notion about gay couples in the society.

The Birdcage was a fun filled film to watch. It shows differences among people and how they should are viewed in the society. The film is also humorous mixed with the willingness of the characters to fight for their identity and integrity. I can say that I enjoyed watching the whole film because I gained lessons and that is not to be prejudice against people. There are reasons behind each one’s personality and they should be respected accordingly. The film is highly recommended for people who values morality so much so that they will be enlightened about the behaviour of people from different genders.

Works Cited:

homophobial “Dictonary.com”. Dictonary.com. 2008. Retrieved 30 April 2009 <http://dictionary.reference.com/browse/homophobia homophobial>.

Nichols, Mike. The Birdcage. USA: United Artist 1996.