Mrs. Doubtfire [1993]

This huge 1993 hit for Robin Williams and director Chris Columbus (Home Alone), based on a novel called Alias Madame Doubtfire by Anne Fine, stars Williams as a loving but flaky father estranged from his frustrated wife (Sally Field). Devastated by a court order limiting his time with the children, Williams's character disguises himself as a warm, old British nanny who becomes the kids' best friend. As with Dustin Hoffman's performance in Tootsie, Williams's drag act--buried under layers of latex and padding--is the show, and everything and everyone else on screen serves his sometimes frantic role. Since that's the case, it's fortunate that Williams is Williams, and his performance is terribly funny at times and exceptionally believable in those scenes where his character misses his children. Playing Williams's brother, a professional makeup artist, Harvey Fierstein has a good support role in a bright sequence where he tries a number of feminine looks on Williams before settling on Mrs. Doubtfire's visage. --Tom Keogh

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