top of page
  • Writer's pictureRobin Yong

Mrs Doubtfire 懷疑夫人

Updated: Jan 14

Mrs. Doubtfire is a 1993 American comedy-drama film directed by Chris Columbus. It was written for the screen by Randi Mayem Singer and Leslie Dixon, based on the 1987 novel Alias Madame Doubtfire by Anne Fine. Robin Williams, who also served as a producer, stars with Sally Field, Pierce Brosnan, Harvey Fierstein, and Robert Prosky. It follows a recently divorced actor who disguises as a female housekeeper to be able to interact with his children. The film addresses themes of divorce, separation, and the effect they have on a family.

The film was released in the United States by 20th Century Fox on November 24, 1993. It won the Academy Award for Best Makeup, and the Golden Globe Award for Best Motion Picture – Musical or Comedy. Robin Williams was awarded the Golden Globe Award for Best Actor in a Motion Picture – Musical or Comedy.

Daniel Hillard is a freelance voice actor living in San Francisco. Though he is a devoted father to his three children—14-year-old Lydia, 12-year-old Christopher "Chris", and 5-year-old Natalie "Nattie". His wife Miranda, a work-obsessed interior designer, considers him unreliable. One day, Daniel quits his job following a disagreement over a morally questionable script and returns home to throw a chaotic birthday party for Chris, despite Miranda's objections due to Chris's bad report card. This infuriates Miranda to the point where she files for divorce. At their first custody hearing, the court grants sole custody of the children to Miranda due to Daniel's unemployed and homeless status; shared custody is contingent on whether Daniel finds a steady job and a suitable residence within three months.

As Daniel works to rebuild his life, securing himself an apartment and a new job as a shipping clerk at a TV station, he learns that Miranda is seeking a housekeeper. Daniel secretly alters her classified ad form, then calls Miranda while using his voice acting skills to pose as a series of undesirable applicants. Daniel finally calls Miranda as "Mrs. Euphegenia Doubtfire", an elderly British nanny with strong credentials, taking his last name from a newspaper headline titled "Police Doubt Fire was Accidental". Miranda is impressed and invites Mrs. Doubtfire for an interview. Daniel asks his brother Frank, a makeup artist, and Frank's domestic partner, Jack, to create a Mrs. Doubtfire costume, including a prosthetic mask to make him appear as an old woman.

Miranda hires Mrs. Doubtfire following a successful interview. The children initially struggle under her authority but soon come around and thrive and Miranda learns to become more easygoing and closer with the kids. Daniel becomes more responsible and learns several household skills as part of the role, further improving himself and earning Miranda's respect. However, this later creates another barrier for Daniel to see his children, as Miranda puts more trust in Mrs. Doubtfire than him, and cannot bring herself to dismiss her. Daniel also becomes increasingly jealous of Miranda's new boyfriend, Stuart "Stu" Dunmeyer, and his strengthening relationship with her and the kids. Lydia and Chris later discover that Mrs. Doubtfire is actually Daniel, but they agree to keep his secret, overjoyed to have daily contact with their father again.

One day, the station's CEO Jonathan Lundy sees Daniel playing with toy dinosaurs on the set of a recently canceled children's show. Impressed by his voice acting, humor and imagination, Lundy invites Daniel to discuss plans for a new show over dinner. However, the dinner meeting turns out to be at the same place and time as a planned birthday dinner for Miranda, to which Mrs. Doubtfire is invited. Unable to change either appointment, Daniel changes in and out of the Mrs. Doubtfire costume to attend both events. Becoming drunk, Daniel slips up when he accidentally returns to Lundy in his costume, but quickly says that Mrs. Doubtfire is his idea of the host for the new show. After overhearing that Stu is allergic to pepper, Daniel sneaks into the kitchen and seasons Stu's order of jambalaya with powdered cayenne pepper. Stu chokes on his dinner, and Daniel, feeling guilty, administers the Heimlich maneuver as Mrs. Doubtfire. The action causes the prosthetic mask to partially peel off Daniel's face, revealing his identity and horrifying Miranda, who storms out of the restaurant with the kids. Stu, however, thanks Daniel for saving him.

At their next custody hearing, Daniel points out that he has met the judge's requirements, then explains his actions and begs to still be allowed to see his children. The judge, noting Daniel's acting abilities, dismisses his words as another act, and, finding his role as Mrs. Doubtfire unorthodox and disturbing, grants Miranda full custody of the children. He further restricts Daniel's rights to supervised Saturday visits. This devastates Daniel, the children, and even Miranda, who begins to realize that her anger and resentment towards Daniel has been hurting the family. Without Mrs. Doubtfire, Miranda and the kids become miserable, acknowledging how much "she" improved their lives. They are then surprised to discover that Daniel, as Mrs. Doubtfire, is hosting a new children's show called Euphegenia's House, which becomes a nationwide hit.

Miranda visits Daniel on set after filming and admits that things were better when he was involved with the family. She then arranges joint custody, allowing Daniel as himself to take the kids daily after school. As Daniel leaves with the kids, Miranda watches an episode of Euphegenia's House in which Mrs. Doubtfire answers a letter from a young girl named Katie McCormick, whose parents have separated, saying no matter what arrangements families have, love will prevail.

Cosplay is part of the Venice Carnevale, but most cosplayers here are older in age and more matured in their choice of costumes and characters.

During the Venice Carnevale, I chanced upon Mrs Doubtfire on the streets, so I asked her for a photo.

99 views0 comments


bottom of page