She makes dinner. She does windows. She reads bedtime stories. She’s a blessing… in disguise.
Written By: Michaela Clement-Hayes
Date: 22nd December, 2014
It sounds horrendous – a film about a man who dresses up in women’s clothing as a way to see his children every day. Yet unlike Anne Fine’s book Madame Doubtfire which sees him don a turban (unbelievable), Chris Columbus’ 1993 film has managed to become a classic
But then who doesn’t love a film that opens with a budgie singing Vivaldi? You’re immediately confused, yet also tapping your toes at such a powerful introduction! All is revealed as we then see Robin Williams ‘doing the voice’ of said budgie, right before he quits his job and goes to meet his kids. Cue one outrageous party involving a petting zoo and suddenly wife Miranda (Sally Field) decides she wants a divorce.
Unemployed and with nowhere to live, Hillard is granted limited visitation rights. For a man whose world revolves around his children, this is not an option, so he sets out to find a way to see them more often… in this case assuming the persona of Mrs Doubtfire and becoming a housekeeper for his ex-wife
Mrs Doubtfire is a film that manages to be sad and funny in equal measure. Williams’ humour alternates with his heartbreak at being unable to see his children as much as he wants; you find yourself laughing out loud one minute and then blinking away tears the next (well, maybe just at the end – it depends how emotional you’re feeling).
Mara Wilson makes an adorable youngest child, managing to stay cute and avoid being saccharine, while Lisa Jakub has sullen teenager Lydia down to a tee. Pierce Brosnan shows off his paternal instinct as Miranda’s love interest Stu and you can’t help despising him as he tries to worm his way into the Hillard’s life.
The soundtrack switches from John Williams’ familiar style to some classic tunes, like Aerosmith’s Dude (Looks Like A Lady) and Luck Be a Lady from Guys and Dolls – this helps the film to flow from poignant to happy moments.
There are far too many amusing moments to mention, but notable favourites are Williams’ transformation from man to housekeeper, as he is covered in plaster, make-up and all sorts whilst singing and of course the many scenes where Williams has to switch between man and woman in a matter of moments as both Mrs Doubtfire and Daniel Hillard are required to be in the same place.
Other classic moments include his breasts catching fire as he attempts to cook for the children and when he covers his face in cake after his mask is run over by a passing lorry.
Mrs Doubtfire is one of those rare family films that everyone will enjoy and although - of course – Daniel gets discovered (after nearly killing Stu), it it all works out in a happy (ish) ending. He and Miranda don’t get back together, but he gets to see his kids more and let’s face it they weren’t really that suited anyway!