Critics Consensus

It may not be one of Vincente Minnelli's best, but the charming and flawlessly acted Gigi still offers enough visual and musical treats to satisfy.



Total Count: 33


Audience Score

User Ratings: 20,960
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Movie Info

Leslie Caron plays Gigi, a young girl raised by two veteran Parisian courtesans (Hermione Gingold and Isabel Jeans) to be the mistress of wealthy young Gaston (Louis Jourdan). When Gaston falls in love with Gigi and asks her to be his wife, Jeans is appalled: never has anyone in their family ever stooped to anything so bourgeois as marriage! Weaving in and out of the story is Maurice Chevalier as an aging boulevardier who, years earlier, had been in love with Gingold's character. Chevalier gets most of the best Lerner & Loewe tunes, including Thank Heaven for Little Girls, I'm Glad I'm Not Young Any More, and his matchless duet with Gingold, I Remember it Well. Caron's best number (dubbed by Betty Wand) is The Night They Invented Champagne while Jourdan gets the honor of introducing the title song. Filmed on location in Paris, Gigi won several Oscars, including Best Picture; it also represented the successful American movie comeback of Chevalier, who thanks to this film was "forgiven" for his reputed collaboration with the Nazis during World War II. ~ Hal Erickson, Rovi

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Critic Reviews for Gigi

All Critics (33) | Top Critics (8)

Audience Reviews for Gigi

  • Apr 04, 2015
    Some of the Lerner are Lowe songs are legitimately good, but the film hasn't aged well at all . . . it's really hard to not find something a bit unnerving about the way it sexualizes young girls in a musical comedy environment.
    Alec B Super Reviewer
  • Aug 21, 2014
    MGM is back to the old song and dance routine in Paris, and this time, they actually got French people, so that they would have the accents handy and not make it too much easier to compare this film with "An American in Paris II". Seriously though, the marketers really knew how to sell this film when they boasted that it was "The first Lerner-Lowe musical since 'My Fair Lady'"... not the best, just the first. This film came out during a time where posters sang overwrought praises for the movies they were promoting, but MGM just left it at that, just in case it didn't work out, you know, for MGM, which took home its, I don't know, twelfth Best Picture Oscar in a row with this film. Well, actually, the accuracy of this poster is still seriously questionable, because this film after came out about six years before "My Fair Lady"... right? This film also came out during a time where people cared enough about musical theatre for marketers to use it to sell a movie, without the musical play being adapted into a movie in the first place. Well, the popularity must have been dying down by this time, because even Alan Jay Lerner and Frederick Loewe took their property to the screen sooner than the stage, although, in all fairness, as this film's poster is telling us, they hadn't had a musical since "My Fair Lady"... the play, so they had to conform to the new wave of entertainment if they wanted to get the big bucks. I'd imagine taking home a few Oscars is a good way to earn big bucks, especially when you can understand the hype, for this is a seriously fun film, although it might not entirely be a good thing that it's not much more than that. The storytelling is that of a decidedly rewarding film, but the story concept itself is actually all but rich with natural shortcomings, being short on conflict, consequence and depth, and more reliant on color that can't even keep consistent, at least in the storytelling I will come to, if you will, "sing" praises for. Vincente Minnelli's realized directorial pacing is never dull, but it has bland spells within occasions of quietness which are hard to ignore, due to their punctuating so much liveliness to momentum that would be sleeker if the storytellers weren't faced with a bloated structure that relies an awful lot on filler to achieve a runtime to two hours. Still, Alan Jay Lerner's script still doesn't take too much time to flesh out the characters, who are memorable and well-portrayed, and were never to be especially rich, but still feel like superficial types in the script whose superficiality does not end with the characterization. I don't know if I would go so far as to criticize the film as melodramatic, as it doesn't really have much dramatic meat to superficialize to begin with, but it still offers plenty of elements which are pretty hard to buy into, even in the context of this fluffy flick which finds times to get a touch too cheesy with its writing. This comedy of relatively considerable inspiration has a tendency to conform to corny sensibilities of films of its time and type, among other things, being unique in its being so well-done, but ultimately rather formulaic. The film at least falls into convention enough to make it harder to disregard the natural shortcomings of this familiar story, which the final product manages to transcend, almost by some miracle, though not to where limitations can be completely ignore. This film is what it is, and yet, if you take it for what it is, you ought to be, not simply thoroughly entertained, but rewarded, thanks largely to a generally strong script. Alan Jay Lerner's script hits cheesy and superficial occasions to characterization and melodramatics, while also getting to be overlong and, well, formulaic at times, but where it could have really lazed out and conformed to the natural shortcomings of this fluffy story concept, it has an unexpected edge to it which challenges predictability and reflects an inspiration that fully draws upon the color of this narrative through razor-sharp dialogue, an often hilarious sense of humor, lively set pieces, and even memorable, if undercooked characters who are most brought to life by their portrayals. Considering the film's era, I questioned the Rotten Tomatoes consensus' boast that this effort is "flawlessly acted" before going in, but really, even though the standard for acting is limited by lighthearted material, just about everyone delivers, from the show-stealingly delightful Maurice Chevalier and the convincingly over-proper Hermione Gingold, to the dashing and relatable Louis Jourdan and the fun and incredibly beautiful Leslie Caron (Sorry, Chevalier, but forget little girls, because looking at Caron's eyes, I thank Heaven for MetroColor), all of whom also deliver on chemistry that further sells this film. More direct of a compliment to the selling of the film's world is art directors E. Preston Ames' and William A. Horning's plays with glamorous production and costume designs by Cecil Beaton, which are vibrant with a color that Joseph Ruttenberg's cinematography stresses beautifully through lush definition. About as beautiful of an aesthetic attribute of this film is Frederick Loewe's score, which is formulaic, but grand in its complimenting liveliness, especially in the context of near-outstanding musical sequences, which boast thoroughly infection compositions behind tight and snappy lyrics by Lerner which are either hardly all that cheesy, or fun in their fluffiness, and join effectively spirited singing in helping in defining dynamic, yet the consistently lively tone of the film. This is a tremendous success of a musical which never gets too caught up in a musicality that is never less than memorably inspired, reflecting in an inspiration that colors things up every chance it gets, but cannot truly secure the reward value of a film so conceptually superficial on its own. That's where Vincente Minnelli's direction comes in, as inspired as anything in a film rich with inspiration, to scripting, acting and style which Minnelli milks for all its worth through a generally tight sense of pacing, and almost sophisticatedly sharp color that establishes a fun factor so realized and recurrent that it carries the final product perhaps further than it should have gone. There isn't much to the idea behind this film, which is simply fluffy and lacking in a potential to reward, and yet, there is still some potential reward value to salvage, as the storytellers make clear through realization so sound that the final product transcends both natural and consequential shortcomings enough to be both exceptionally fun and, of all things, rewarding. When the number is concluded, natural shortcomings to an inconsequential story concept threaten the final product's reward value, with the help of a few pacing issues, characterization superficialities, cheesy spots, and conventions, but through a solid script, cast, production value, soundtrack and directorial performance of highly realized liveliness, Vincente Minnelli's, or rather, Lerner-Loewe's "Gigi" overcomes its limitations so much that it proves to be truly rewarding as a fiercely fun affair. 3/5 - Good
    Cameron J Super Reviewer
  • Dec 15, 2013
    Leonardo DiCaprio has never been awarded an Oscar... but somehow, this disaster won nine of them. What a vapid, pointless movie. The plot is "this young girl had best grow into the social graces of womanhood so that a rich, unattainable man will want to marry her." Then she does. The acting is hammy, even for a musical, and these bourgeois blowhards don't seem to work at anything. Paris and the French are stereotyped beyond belief, and if not for the occasionally witty lyrics - which the film can hardly be credited for, as this was adapted from the stage - there is nothing redeeming about this relic. It was a different time, sure, but this film beat out Cat on a Hot Tin Roof and the much more provocative and entertaining The Defiant Ones... plus, Spencer Tracy starred in The Old Man and the Sea... which wasn't even nominated! I know, I know; greatness is not defined by the Academy Awards. But the idea that this film gets to stand beside The Deer Hunter, The Best Years of Our Lives, One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest, Casablanca, Unforgiven, Kramer vs. Kramer, (or even Forrest Gump or Rocky!), absolutely turns my stomach. I was hoping this was a satire and that I was the only one not in the joke... but even if it was intended to be, no one would get that from it. For women, it implies, your worth is determined by whether you can properly pour coffee, or pick out a good cigar for a man, or know which jewels are the really good ones (so you can criticize the gifts you or other women get... from men, naturally). I'm pretty sure this film is the entire reason the Bechdel test came into existence. Simply atrocious... and two. full. hours. It's time you'll never get back. Worst. Best. Picture. Ever. Hands down.
    Daniel P Super Reviewer
  • Oct 13, 2013
    A young woman enters maturity and falls for a family friend. Home of the child molester's anthem, "Thank Heaven for Little Girls," Gigi is a superbly decorated, pastel-hued showcase of art direction and set design. The only problem is that they forgot the story. What suffices as a plot is merely the cliche of male pursuit with little in the way of commentary on social graces or sexual politics, and the characters are types, conforming to the cliche in every way imaginable. Overall, pretty backgrounds do not make a good film by themselves.
    Jim H Super Reviewer

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