My Rating: 3 stars
My grandma always liked this movie. And, I never really thought anything about it when she’d tell me about it. I had thought that this was just another old-timey movie about dresses and parasols—stuff old ladies like. And, it is old-timey, being set in Paris in the 1900s. And, there are lots of dresses and parasols. But, then I started paying attention to the story, and I got really confused. You see, my grandma is a very sober lady with good, clean, Midwestern values. And, this is a movie about Gigi, a young girl training to be the best whore in Paris. But, she’s not learning to be any common, street hussy. No, she’s taking lessons from some of the finest granddames of Paris whoring. They’re going to teacher her how to do it right. Gigi is going to learn how to land a high-rolling sugar daddy, and how to stay on his payroll long term. This is serious business. And, it’s definitely not the kind of story I was expecting my straitlaced grandma to like.
Gigi seems like a child. I’d guess her character is supposed to be somewhere around fourteen years old. But, she comes from a family of reputable courtesans, so it’s only natural that she’d be trained in the family trade. Gigi’s got so much to learn. She needs to know how to pour a man’s coffee, how to cut and light a man’s cigar, how to work a room and throw shade at other “professional” ladies to make sure she’s the most desirable woman for purchase. And, she definitely needs to learn how to hold her liquor. A girl has got to keep her wits about her when peddling her wares to handsy aristocrats.
Gigi’s handlers have got their sights set on the most eligible bachelor in Paris, Gaston Lachaille. He’s fabulously wealthy, and his romantic dalliances are frequently splashed all over the front pages of the gossip rags. But, Gigi has got a leg up on the competition because she’s young and innocent, and she’s been weaseling her way into Gaston’s heart under platonic pretexts. It’s very scandalous. But, the costumes are very proper, and the actors speak in that classy Transatlantic accent, so grandmas who aren’t paying very close attention might think it’s just a love story. That’s my theory anyway.
I kinda liked this movie. It’s old, but it’s not slow. And, the subject matter is just titillating enough to keep the modern viewer interested. The film is still pretty strange. The narrator is this dirty old lech. He opens the film singing that creepy song, “Thank Heaven for Little Girls.” And, he pops up at various points during the movie to throw out a few innuendos and wink at the camera. It’s very cringeworthy. The movie was released in 1958, and I had thought people were pretty prudish back then. But, the movie is interesting enough that I’d recommend it to people interested in these old movies.