Cabaret is an exuberant film about performance and expression on many levels, and about performance in a version of reality, in contrast to understanding and absorbing reality in all its complexity and contradiction, and danger. Whether being a love story, musical or message, cabaret works on all levels.
As a love story, Cabaret gradually caters the needs of Sally, Brian, Max, Natalia and Fritz throughout the film. Although the relationships between Sally, Brian and Max are not based completely on love, Natalia and Fritz depend on love for their relationship to succeed. .
Completely detached and unaware of the rising tide of Nazism, a capricious American Sally Bowles performs nightly at the sleazy Kit Kat Club. Enthralled by thedivine decadence? surrounding her she wears bizarre makeup and impossibly theatrical clothes, continually deluded by her ambition of attracting a movie producer who will shoot her to instant stardom.
Brian Roberts, an aspiring writer, has come to Berlin to improve his German and hopefully make a few marks on the side by teaching English. An intermediate and unlikely understanding springs up between Sally and Brian when he takes a room opposite Sally's in Fraulein Schneider's boarding house, but their relationship begins on a platonic level because of Brian's admission to previously disastrous sexual experiences with women. Eventually Brian finds himself so mesmerised by Sally, the Kit Kat Club and her bohemian life, and so carefree in he company that they easily slip into a sexual relationship.
Meanwhile, Brian has two English language pupils, Natalia Landauer, an aristocratic Jewish girl, and Fritz Wendel, a gigolo friend of Sally's. They fall in love but increasing political instability blights heir romance. Natalia is a Jew in Hitler's Germany and Fritz is reluctant to forgo his Christian disguise and admit that he too is Jewish. He eventually admits his heritage and marries Natalia at an orthodox ceremony in a brief moment of flagrant flouting of the Nazi presence.