An American in Paris
What parents need to know
Parents Need to Know
Parents need to know that while this movie's content is squeaky-clean (with sexuality limited to a few brief kisses), the plot behind the songs and dances is racier than that of the typical musical, featuring romantic complications, infidelity, and a predatory female character who seems intent on turning Gene Kelly's character into a gigolo. Younger kids probably won't get the innuendos, while older ones may be a bit discomfited by the romantic duplicity of the film's characters.
What's the story?
Triple threat Gene Kelly acts, sings, and dances beautifully in this eye-catching musical laced with Gershwin songs and gorgeous dance numbers. Jerry Mulligan (Kelly) is a former WWII soldier who stayed in Paris after the war ended to pursue his love of painting. A wealthy divorcee (Nina Foch) has offered to be his patron, though she's clearly interested more in Jerry himself than his work. Meanwhile, Jerry has fallen for a pretty French dancer (Leslie Caron, in her screen debut), and is having trouble choosing between financial security and passion.
Is it any good?
The stunning song-and-dance segments are the main appeal of this movie, particularly Gershwin's 17-minute title piece, accompanied by a lengthy ballet built around the main characters. It's a knockout, and a good thing, too, because the plot is nothing to write home about.
The characters are silly, duplicitous, and grasping, and resemble nothing so much as cardboard cutouts meant to push a plot along in between musical numbers. But what does it matter, when the songs are so delicious (particularly "S'Wonderful" and "I Got Rhythm") and the dancing so infectious? Lavish sets, gorgeous costumes, great music -- this one's a feast for the eyes and ears, not for the brain.
Families can talk about...
Families can talk about whether unmarried couples who are dating owe each other truth and fidelity, and why. They might also discuss the casual ways in which the characters seem to view love, falling in and out of it easily and quickly. Is this a true portrait of the way human beings organize their romantic lives? Or is real life more complicated by emotion?