Musical | In English | 115 Minutes | 1958

Based on the novella of the same name by Collette, this musical film is set in turn-of-the-20th-century Paris and Deauville.  Several amazing characters’  lives interconnect: Gaston, the bored bon vivant; Honore, the old lover-man who narrates much of the story;  the youthful and precocious Gigi; and Madame Alvarez, Gigi’s caring grandmother, who keeps a watchful eye on everything going on.  While Gaston is away in Monte Carlo, Madame Alvarez decides to groom Gigi in the finer arts and proper social etiquette, hoping she’ll become  Gaston’s love interest. When Gaston returns, he’s shocked by the transformation of Gigi. From a skinny, impetuous young girl, she has become a stunningly beautiful, well-poised woman. Gaston takes her for a night out at Maxim’s. It doesn’t go well. He’s conflicted with his growing feelings of love for Gigi and the attention she’s getting from others in the room. They split and both are heartbroken. But, thank goodness, Gaston sees the light, and, singing  the heart-rendering “Gigi,” he races to her apartment where he shockingly asks Madame Alvarez for Gigi’s hand in marriage. Honore concludes the film singing, “Thank Heaven for Little Girls (They Grow Up in the Most Delightful Way).” Music by Frederick Lowe; lyrics and screenplay by Alan Jay Lerner.
Leslie Caron (Gigi), Maurice Chevalier (Honore), Louis Jourdan (Gaston), Hermione Gingold (Madame Alvarez)
Why Stream This Film?
In time I’m going to audit the low Rotten Tomatoes and Metacritic scores. I can only surmise that some critics were offended by the story about grooming an innocent young girl to become a courtesan to a supposed philanderer. If you can accept that this was often done in high-society Paris in that era, then you’ll find this  film  enormously entertaining.  
  • Rotten Tomatoes Score (Critics Consensus) 77% 77%
  • Metacritic Score 61% 61%
  • Academy Awards: Best Picture, Best Director (Vincente Minnelli), Best Adapted Screenplay (Alan Jay Lerner), Best Costume Design (Cecil Beaton)
  • Golden Globes: Best Musical or Comedy, Best Director (Vincente Minnelli), Best Supporting Actress in a Motion Picture (Hermione Gingold)
  • Grammy Award: Best Soundtrack Album for a Motion Picture, Television, or other Visual Media

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It is not only a charming comprehension of the spicy confession of Collette, but it is also a lovely and lyrical enlargement upon that story’s flavored mood and atmosphere. And within this fine frame of swanky settings, director Vincente Minnellli has marshaled a cast to give a set of performances that, for quality and harmony, are superb.
Bosley Crowther

The New York Times

GIGI is destined for a global mopup. It has all the ingredients. It’s a naughty but nice romp of the hyper romantic 90s of Paris-in-the-spring, in the Bois, in Maxim’s, and in the boudoir. How can it miss?
Abel Green


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