Gigi ★★½

Adam & Justin's Letterboxd Movie Club - Best Picture: 1958

Make no mistake: Gigi is a film that flourished due to the universal appeal of the musical. On its own, its can’t hold a candle to another musical about a young woman being groomed for Courtesanship and/or marriage. I’m referring to the 1964 Best Picture winner, My Fair Lady.

This is a film that can be lauded for its individual parts, mainly the costume and production design, which take us into another world that is both fabricated in its design, yet genuine due to the relationship dynamics. Which is the chief purpose of this film given the opportunity proposed to Gigi. She’s a woman who’d much rather have the love of her admirer, the wealthy playboy Gaston (Louis Jourdan), rather than just his assets. But given the film’s emphasis on wealth and power as the way into a woman’s heart, it makes sense that this is the most convincing part of the film. But such trappings are meaningless for Gigi without true fulfillment.

It seems like it’s very hard for many on this site to shake the fact that this is a story about a young woman who’s being groomed to become a wealthy man’s plaything. That I understand. I wonder if the Academy members viewed this film in the same way? It’s possible. But I have to imagine that aside from the costumes and production design, which are what push this film over the top, one reason why this film might’ve been chosen is that it seems like a very risky Best Picture winner for the 1950’s. And if you’re able to dress up (figuratively) such subject matter in an elaborate production, then I guess that it deserves a few accolades. But not over Cat on a Hot Tin Roof or The Defiant Ones.

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