The Birdcage + Women on the Verge of a Nervous Breakdown

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Double feature: There really aren’t that many movies featuring the Thanksgiving holiday, even tangentially.  If you’re looking to branch out beyond “Planes, Trains & Automobiles,” “Home for the Holidays,” and “Hannah and Her Sisters,” consider a double feature of “The Birdcage” and “Women on the Verge of a Nervous Breakdown.”

True, neither of these films has any literal connection to the holiday. But both feature simultaneously festive and strained gatherings of friends/relatives, at which food is served and emotions are pitched right below (sometimes above) outright hysteria.

Moreover, amid their farce and emotional tumult – swooning, slapstick, threats, and mambo – the initially desperate protagonists of both films ultimately find cause for acceptance, gratitude, and a celebration of togetherness.

Putting the holiday aside, these films are more than well-matched: although “The Birdcage” is a clear remake of the earlier, French “La Cage aux Folles,” the Spanish “Women on the Verge of a Nervous Breakdown” is just as much a part of its DNA, however subconsciously. Both films feature sunny climates, unflappably baroque personalities, and an attention to interior atmospherics – houseplants, tableware, the most hospitable taxicab you’ll ever encounter – that keep the increasingly ridiculous scenarios grounded in life’s realities.  Somewhat.

(Creative Commons licensed original images courtesy of “su-lin” and “cyclonebill” at Flickr)

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