So a few weeks ago I had a bad day and a little breakdown about how I need to be a better person. It wasn’t an unfamiliar feeling — frantic loneliness, boredom, indecision, being hard on myself for stupid things (like snacks for dinner), etc., etc., etc. My then-boyfriend, who was at the receiving end of this little breakdown, is really into old musicals, and suggested we watch Singin’ in the Rain. We did, we laughed, it was nice.
I mistakenly thought that classic musicals might just be the key to happiness. Maybe I could watch something other than Amelie when I needed a little mood boost. I should know better than this — of course not every classic musical is going to make me forget a bad mood.
Anyway, I watched Gigi, the 1958 nine-Oscar-winning musical starring Leslie Caron. There were reasons for liking Gigi. In fact, I probably would have enjoyed it if I hadn’t had such high expectations for it. I liked the song “It’s a Bore,” and the way they musically depicted gossip. But there were many more reasons not to like Gigi (note: there are spoilers here):
- It opens with the kind of creepy, pedophilic number (really, in the context, even) “Thank Heaven for Little Girls.”
- One of those Little Girls for whom we should Thank Heaven is, of course, Gigi, who is probably 14 or 15. Her aunt and grandmother (both spinsters or widows or something) plot to polish her into a worldly young woman by giving her lessons in etiquette. So that she’ll marry well. Meaning: into money.
- The movie’s star male, Gaston, a sugar heir who is bored with everything, is dating Eva Gabor’s character, who cheats on him with her skating coach. Gaston breaks up with her….
- And she attempts suicide “the usual way, insufficient poison,” and it’s this big joke in the movie, with the pedophilic uncle so-and-so congratulating Gaston on “his first suicide” and toasting to “many more” (!!!!!)
- Gaston treats Gigi like a kid sister, until one night they get drunk on champagne, he loses to her at cards because she cheats, and as a result, she goes on vacation with him (and her grandmother).
- There is romantic interest.
- Gigi’s etiquette lessons become more intense (and they work! She knows just how to select a cigar for her man! Oh, the talent, the skill, the breeding!)
- He takes her out on the town, and hates her polishedness. So he marches her home, she cries all the way…
- And then he asks for her hand in marriage?
- And then she says yes?
- And then it ends?
Anyway. I won’t give up on musicals altogether. I’ll just lower my expectations and go from there.