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The Birdcage Review

Other Critics provided by Metacritic.com

Critics scores range from 0 to 100, with higher scores indicating more favorable reviews.

  • 4.0
    72

    out of 100

    Metascore®
    Generally favorable reviews
    based on a weighted average of all
    critic review scores.

  • 75

    out of 100

    Chicago Sun-Times Roger Ebert

    What makes Mike Nichols' version more than just a retread is good casting in the key roles, and a wicked screenplay by Elaine May.

    Read Full Review

  • 75

    out of 100

    USA Today Susan Wloszczyna

    Light as a feather. [8 March 1996, p.D1]

  • 88

    out of 100

    ReelViews James Berardinelli

    The film is so boisterously entertaining that it's easy for the unsuspecting viewer not to realize that there's a message here.

    Read Full Review

  • 91

    out of 100

    Entertainment Weekly Owen Gleiberman

    Enchantingly witty.

    Read Full Review

  • See all The Birdcage reviews at Metacritic.com

For Families provided by Common Sense Media

OK for kids 15+

Campy, comedic romp with lots of profanity.

What Parents Need to Know

Parents need to know that The Birdcage is a fun, comedic romp in an adult setting: a South Beach nightclub with a drag show. There's some strong language: "F--k" and variations are used about a dozen times; other profanity is infrequent and includes "a--hole" and "s--t." Characters are frequently seen drinking, usually with a meal or in celebration but sometimes comedically guzzling from a bottle. Two characters are occasionally depicted smoking. A lot of extras in the background are scantily clad, and some phallic home-decor items are seen. Some viewers upset by Robin Williams' death may feel a chill when his character says almost in passing that he's going to kill himself.

  • Families can talk about how the world of The Birdcage, a drag-show nightclub, is shown in the movie. Do you think society's attitudes toward homosexuality and drag culture have changed since the movie was made in 1996? Did you notice any stereotyping, or do you think the characters were realistic?
  • If you fell in love with someone whose parents were gay, would you try to hide that from your own parents? Why do you think Val wants to hide the truth from Barbara's parents?
  • What other Robin Williams movies have you seen? How do you think this one compares? Which is your favorite?

The good stuff
  • message true4

    Messages: Be true to yourself and your loved ones. If you try to hide who you are, or lie about who you are to others, you'll only make matters worse by hurting yourself and those you care about. Keep an open mind when you meet someone who seems really different or strange. We're all just people who want the same opportunities for happiness in life.

  • rolemodels true4

    Role models: Armand and Albert are a devoted couple who have raised a son to adulthood and run a business together. There's plenty of dramatics in their relationship, but they both model care and loving support of each other and their loved ones. Senator Keeley is overly concerned with how his chances for re-election are affected by his public image, and mainly wants to meet the right kind of people. Mrs. Keeley is mostly a doormat, but eventually calls her husband to task for being superficial and having mixed-up priorities. Val's mother, Katherine, has been estranged from the family for twenty years but willingly comes back into their lives to help her son out of a jam.

What to watch for
  • violence false1

    Violence: Early on Armand breaks down a door in a scene played for comedy. A dinner-party discussion includes a reference to killing abortion doctors. Some viewers upset by Robin Williams' death may feel a chill when his character says almost in passing that he's going to kill himself.

  • sex false3

    Sex: South Beach-area background people are scantily clad, and occasionally seen semi-nude from the back in G-string swimwear. Household helper Agador's bare bottom is seen once when he's also wearing a thong. A nightclub performer is seen grabbing his crotch in a dance number. A home is decorated with a lot of phallic artwork, and primitive statues with prominent, erect penises are seen.

  • language false3

    Language: Most frequently used, about a half-dozen times, is "f--k" and variations. Other strong language used a few times each includes "a--holes," "s--t," and "fag." Used once or twice each: "bastard," "bitch," whore," "goddamn," "prick," "ass," "damn," and "son of a bitch."

  • consumerism false0

    Consumerism: Time, People, and Newsweek magazines are mentioned once.

  • drugsalcoholtobacco false3

    Drinking, drugs and smoking: Armand smokes in several scenes, as does his adult son Val. Adults frequently drink champagne, scotch, and wine, including the 20-year-old son, and they're sometimes seen comedically swigging from bottles. Some scenes take place in a nightclub and drinks are seen being served to patrons. Armand takes a pill once with his morning coffee. Albert asks for tranquilizers before a performance, but he doesn't know that Agador's really just giving him aspirin.

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