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The Birdcage - Wikiscreenplay

The Birdcage

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Notes: It's no accident that this film premiered March 1996, 3 years into the Clinton administration's Don't Ask Don't Tell policy. The film turned the public's then irrational opposition to homosexuality on it's head by examining it under an unforgiving comedic microscope. Some 15 years later, the public seems not only to accept homosexual marriage, families headed by homosexuals and gays in the military but finds the idea of denying homosexuals equal rights inhumane.
Title: The Birdcage
Genre: Fool Triumphant
Year: 1996
Runtime: 117 minutes
Author: Karimah Boston
Movie Database: TBD
Screenplay: Jean Poiret
Log Line: A gay cabaret owner and his partner play it straight to earn the approval of their son's ultra right wing potential in-laws.
 
(TBD) Opening Image: Men in drag perform "We are Family" as Armand Goldman manages multiple backstage crises
(TBD) Theme Stated: The theme is never stated but implied and comes toward the end when Albert's effort to conform to society's expectations fails miserably
(TBD) Setup: Albert, Armand's partner and featured star at the Birdcage is having a meltdown. True to Albert's over the top, drama queen antics he confronts Armand about his indifference toward him and his suspicion that Armand is cheating.
(TBD) Catalyst: Val, Armand's biological son, announces that he is getting married meanwhile, Senator Keely's co-founder for the Coalition for Moral Order is found dead in the bed of an underage African-American prostitute jeopardizing Keely's re-election chances.
(TBD) Debate: Unable to tell her parents the truth about Val's gay, Jewish parents, Barabara tells them instead that Armand is a cultural attache, Albert is a housewife and their last name is Coleman not Goldman. Can the flamboyant Armand and over the top Albert play it straight for one night to get the Keeley's blessing?
(TBD) Break Into Two: The Keeley's decide to travel to South Beach hoping to get the blessing of the "Colemans" and thus re-focus the media's attention on Barbara's impending wedding
(TBD) B Story: Armand and Albert's relationship is strained to the breaking point when Armand tries to send Albert away at Val's urging lest he blow their cover
(TBD) Fun and Games: Armand tries to teach Albert how to play it straight but without really knowing what straight is, the two end up copying every masculine caricature they can think of
(TBD) Midpoint: When Armand asks Val's biological mother Katie Archer to play his wife for the evening, Albert catches Katie flirting shamelessly with Armand and storms out
(TBD) Bad Guys Close In: Armand finds Albert and convinces him to return home offering him a palimony agreement he's been carrying around for some time. In a touching scene, Albert tries his absolute best to conform to society's idea of a man; wearing a suit and removing his makeup and rings but he simply can't be anyone other than himself. It's only when Albert accepts himself for who he is and plays a woman do things start to go right. Realizing their cover will be blown if Katie arrives, Val puts a note on the door warning her not to come up. The paparazzi who've been trailing the Keeley's since Ohio snatch the note off the door and wait for the fireworks. Meanwhile, the Keeley's suspect something is amiss. Senator Keely, who considers "Mrs. Coleman" a fine example of a woman, thinks it is because Mr. Coleman has a woman on the side. His suspicion is confirmed when Katie arrives and introduces herself as Val's mother. When Senator Keely confronts the Colemans about Val's two mothers, Val admits the truth about his family
(TBD) All Is Lost: Unable to allow his daughter's marriage to ruin his political career, Senator Keely refuses to give his blessing. Barbara tells Armand and Albert she would have loved to have been part of their family
(TBD) Dark Night of the Soul: The paparazzi are outside the door and almost get a shot of Senator Keely but he ducks behind the door before they get a chance. As the senator despairs over the loss of his career...
(TBD) Break into Three: ...Albert has an idea that just might get the Senator out without being noticed
(TBD) Finale: As the drag queens perform "We are Family" the Keelys, now dressed in drag, dance on stage in front of an unsuspecting media
(TBD) Final Image: With the conservative Keely's on one side and the flamboyant Goldman's on the other, Barbara makes her way down the aise toward Val and a waiting preacher and rabbi who pronounce them husband and wife
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