Image copyright © by Marcus Trahan

The Birdcage


Remaking a foreign language film in English is not always a bad idea. However, just off the top of my head I can think of only one remake that was as good as, and possibly even a wee bit better, than the original, and that is Sorcerer, the English version of the French film The Wages of Fear. More often the best you can hope for is that the new version is not an actual disgrace to cinema. That was the case, I thought, with the English version of The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo. It was an adequate thriller, but in the original Swedish movie Noomi Rapace and Niels Arden Oplev simply blew Rooney Mara and David Fincher clean out of the water.

I will admit that upon a second viewing twenty years after the first one, I found I liked this remake of the brilliant French comedy La Cage aux Folles better than I did originally. I had not realized that it brought Mike Nichols and Elaine May back together, with him directing her script. And it is a good film, I might even say a very good film. Robin Williams restrains himself admirably, allowing Nathan Lane to play the super-flighty Albert as outrageously as possible. Gene Hackman and Dianne Wiest and Hank Azaria are great in supporting roles.

I have wondered for a while how gays reacted to the films. I mean, Albert is so much a cliché, did anyone find that offensive? I didn’t, but who knows what people might be sensitive about. I was happy to read this in Wiki:

“The Gay & Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation (GLAAD) praised the film for “going beyond the stereotypes to see the character’s depth and humanity. The film celebrates differences and points out the outrageousness of hiding those differences.” The film was also nominated for a GLAAD Media Award.” Amen to that.

Lastly, I got furious all over again about Armand’s son and his fiancée’s cowardice in not allowing Armand and Albert to be who they were. I recognize that without that cowardice there would not be a story, and that it was necessary to make the point that people should be accepted for who they are, but still. What a couple of shitheads!