Charming, pretty 1950s musical with dated gender roles.
  • Review Date: April 19, 2010
  • Rated: G
  • Genre: Musical
  • Release Year: 1958
  • Running Time: 116 minutes

What parents need to know

Positive messages

Given its age, there are many old-fashioned beliefs: That women need to please men; that physical beauty is very important. And though the film sort of pushes against some of these suppositions, it doesn't much stray away from them. But like other musicals of this era, all's well that ends well thanks to true love.

Positive role models

Gaston and his uncle are fairly dismissive of the women in their lives, and Gigi and her relatives buy into the belief that being kept is a worthy pursuit.

Not applicable

No nudity, or even close to it, but Gigi is being groomed to become a kept woman, and that's central to the plot. A lead character is a playboy and dates many women.

Not applicable
Not applicable
Drinking, drugs, & smoking

As appropriate for the times, characters drink and smoke in social situations. There's even a song about champagne.

Parents Need to Know

Parents need to know that, scratch below the pretty surface of this iconic 1950s musical and some dated and slightly racy themes appear: about how important it is to make your man happy and whether it's better to be a wife or a mistress. Still, tweens and teens who give it a try will be entranced by the splendidness and charm of it all, and will likely put such plot points within the film's historical context. There's no swearing or nudity, and any drinking and smoking is done so socially.

What's the story?

It's the turn of the century -- 20th century -- Paris, and young Gigi (Leslie Caron) is poised to follow in her aunt's (Isabel Jeans) and grandmother's (Hermione Gingold) footsteps to become a highly courted courtesan in this cinematic adaptation of author Colette's novella. It's serious business that requires serious training, but Gigi is constantly distracted by their family friend, the affluent and popular bachelor Gaston Lachaille (Louis Jourdan). As they spend more time together, the two grow to care for one another. But Gigi's expected to be a mistress; can she really be the wife? Especially since love, to her, seems befuddling and mysterious? Besides, she's changing as she perfects her craft, and Gaston may not appreciate the metamorphosis. Can their love last?

Is it any good?


As one of GIGI's most popular songs goes, "Thank heaven for little girls," and that much is true for the film in general. It's an Academy Award-winning classic for a reason -- or, rather, so many reasons: inventive plot, memorable music (by Alan Jay Lerner and Fritz Loewe), swoony costumes (by the legendary Cecil Beaton), and inspiring performances. With Paris as the backdrop, no less. At times the film feels almost too perfect, as though engineered for maximum effect but lacking heft, and today's audiences may find the way it prettifies its subject matter -- Gigi is being prepared, essentially, for mistress-hood -- off-puttingly old-fashioned. But the doubts fall away after the opening credits and the charm offensive begins.

Families can talk about...

  • Families can talk about why Gigi is being trained to become a great courtesan/mistress? Why is this a lofty (at least in Paris during that time period) goal? Or isn't it?

  • What makes Gigi so appealing to Gaston? Is there something off-putting in the idea that an older family friend like him ends up dating a younger woman he's known since her teens? (Gigi's age isn't specified, but there are references to her being young.)

  • Clearly, some themes in the film are dated (specifically the role of women), but they're worth discussing. What do you think of how men are fought for in this society, and the women who are groomed to please them?

Movie details

Theatrical release date:May 15, 1958
DVD release date:March 31, 2009
Cast:Leslie Caron, Louis Jourdan, Maurice Chevalier
Director:Vincente Minnelli
Studio:Warner Home Video
Topics:Book characters, Music and sing-along
Run time:116 minutes
MPAA rating:G

This review of Gigi was written by

Common Sense Media's unbiased ratings are conducted by expert reviewers and aren't influenced by the product's creators or by any of our funders, affiliates, or partners.


Our star rating assesses the media's overall quality.

Find out more

Learning ratings

  • Best: Really engaging; great learning approach.
  • Very Good: Engaging; good learning approach.
  • Good: Pretty engaging; good learning approach.
  • Fair: Somewhat engaging; OK learning approach.
  • Not for Learning: Not recommended for learning.
  • Not for Kids: Not age-appropriate for kids; not recommended for learning.

Find out more

About our buy links

When you use our links to make a purchase, Common Sense Media earns a small affiliate fee from Amazon or iTunes. As a nonprofit organization, these funds help us continue providing independent, ad-free services for educators, families, and kids while the price you pay remains the same. Thank you for your support.
Read more

See more about how we rate and review.

About Our Rating System

The age displayed for each title is the minimum one for which it's developmentally appropriate. We recently updated all of our reviews to show only this age, rather than the multi-color "slider." Get more information about our ratings.

Great handpicked alternatives

What parents and kids say

See all user reviews

Share your thoughts with other parents and kids Write a user review

A safe community is important to us. Please observe our guidelines

Adult Written byavocats May 9, 2010

Not for tweens

It is about prostitution, all being said, isn't it? Gigi says that she will be expected to sleep in his bed in exchange for a life of luxury. I don't know about 12 as old enough for dealing with those concepts, regardless of the happy outcome. The film made also me feel a bit creepy, his being a family friend and all that.
Teen, 14 years old Written byohcomeon1317 August 22, 2015

Awesome movie

This movie is amazing.
What other families should know
Great messages
Great role models


Did our review help you make an informed decision about this product?

Digital Compass