Daniel Hillard (Robin Williams) is a struggling father who loses his job as a voice actor for cartoons. When he throws a disastrous surprise birthday party for his son, Chris, everything takes a turn for the worse. Daniel's wife, Miranda (Sally Field), has had it with Daniel and wants a divorce. Daniel is denied custody of the children, but is allowed visitations. Daniel, with the help of his friend, theatrical make-up artist Frank (Harvey Fierstein), disguises himself as "Mrs. Doubtfire," a woman of mature years, a sharp tongue, and an endearing way with the children.