My Fair Lady

 
Witty, stylish musical classic will entertain all ages.
  • Review Date: July 25, 2005
  • Rated: G
  • Genre: Musical
  • Release Year: 1964
  • Running Time: 172 minutes

What parents need to know

Educational value

Wonderful representation of early 20th-century England, with horse-drawn carriages, beautiful sets, and costumes. Eliza's transformation from street girl to "My Fair Lady" illustrates differences in English dialect and language usage, as well as generalized separation of the social classes.

Positive messages

The movie draws a sharp, satirical contrast between Britain’s lower and upper classes in the early 1900s, then shows that even a "lowly," uneducated person can succeed given desire, persistence, and an education. At the same time, a well-bred member of the upper class -- an outspoken misogynist and elitist -- learns a lot about women, as well as about superficial appearance versus inner beauty (ultimately, the sexism that propels him is shown as a handicap). And of course, viewers see that true love can appear in the most unexpected places.

Positive role models

"Lowly" Eliza proves to be resilient, smart, and as worthy as London's upper crust. Professor Higgins -- who starts out as an egotistical, woman-hating professor -- learns a powerful lesson about treating people with compassion and humanity. Set in a class-conscious world, the story portrays almost everyone --  including servants, the poor, the educated, and the rich -- as deserving of dignity and capable of great joy. The one exception is Eliza’s father; but even Alfie Doolittle, a hard-drinking, materialistic ne’er-do-well, redeems himself by the end.

Violence & scariness

One humorous scene in which Eliza is forced against her will to bathe, probably for the very first time in her life. She howls and shrieks as she tries to avoid the bath, but the tone is comedic, not threatening. In one later scene, Eliza gets angry at Professor Higgins, throws his slippers at him, and raises a hand as if to strike him. Humorous references to beating a woman for misbehaving.

Sexy stuff
Not applicable
Language

A single use of “ass,” and a few “damns” as an introduction to a song.

Consumerism
Not applicable
Drinking, drugs, & smoking

Eliza’s father is referred to as a heavy drinker. Some drinking of wine or cocktails in social settings. Professor Higgins smokes a cigar. An exuberant scene in a pub shows characters toasting and drinking with whiskey, beer, etc. as they prepare to attend a wedding.

Parents Need to Know

Parents need to know that this classic musical is entertaining for all ages, though it may be too long (almost three hours) for the youngest kids. It's a biting satire that treats both the most egotistical snob and the "lowliest" street person with gentle humor and respect. It’s also a romantic story without even a kiss. There are no villains; there’s no violence (a few references to beating a woman for misbehaving are intended to be humorous). With the exception of one “ass” and a couple of “damns,” there’s no iffy language, either. A few scenes depict moderate drinking on social occasions, there’s one shot of a tipsy bridegroom on the way to his wedding, and one main character smokes a cigar.

What's the story?

Audrey Hepburn stars as Eliza Doolittle in director George Cukor's adaptation of the Broadway musical based on George Bernard Shaw's play Pygmalion. In 1912 London, cockney street peddler Eliza is handpicked by linguistics professor Henry Higgins (Rex Harrison) on a bet that he can reshape her into an aristocrat. Higgins has his work cut out for him -- Eliza turns out to be quite the spitfire. As he struggles to teach her how to speak, walk, and behave like a proper lady, his friend Colonel Pickering (Wilfrid Hyde-White) sits back and enjoys the wild ride. Eliza's ultimate transformation is spectacular, and even Higgins is surprised by how she handles herself at upper-crust gatherings. He's also surprised at how he himself is transformed when it comes to his feelings for his fetching protege. With music and lyrics by Lerner and Loewe, MY FAIR LADY is truly a classic.

Is it any good?

QUALITY
 

With witty songwriting, comical and charismatic performances by the two leads, and lush costumes and sets, My Fair Lady still engages decades after its initial release. Hepburn's unique comic flair is especially effective in the race scene at Ascot.

The film delights viewers of all ages, although some might grow weary of a few songs that stay a verse or two past their welcome. The DVD special features offer an insight into how this classic might have been even better: Compare the versions of "Show Me" and "Loverly" originally sung by Hepburn with the final film's dubbing of Marni Nixon's impersonal soprano. You'll rue the studio's decision not to leave Hepburn's sweeter, more urchinesque voice on these tracks.

Families can talk about...

  • Families can talk about the idea of social class. How have things changed since the time in which this movie was set?

  • How does the movie portray drinking? Are viewers supposed to get a specific take-away from that?

  • How do you think Eliza feels about Professor Higgins in the end?

Movie details

Theatrical release date:December 25, 1964
DVD release date:October 6, 2009
Cast:Audrey Hepburn, Rex Harrison, Wilfrid Hyde-White
Director:George Cukor
Studio:Warner Bros.
Genre:Musical
Topics:Friendship, Misfits and underdogs, Music and sing-along
Run time:172 minutes
MPAA rating:G

This review of My Fair Lady was written by

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Quality

Our star rating assesses the media's overall quality.

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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.

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Written byAnonymous December 28, 2014
age 8+
 

It's a good movie but does have a few parts that you may want to consider before showing to a younger audience

I personally love this movie, with it's humur, musical, and the costumes. The plot of the story is about a young women with a rough British accent, that at the time was not considered proper. The young women comes across a professor that is willing to teach her to speak the way others would expect her to. She agrees, reluctanty, and the movie stops with a unclear ending. This movies does have some brief language that children nessasarlly should not be exposed to. If you ignore this then the movie is very enjoyable. I think the age for watching would range from 8-10 years old. I watched it when I was fairly young and really did not understand what the language even meant.
What other families should know
Great messages
Too much swearing
Teen, 16 years old Written byCorinneBeth June 14, 2009
age 10+
 

Great Quality Film

There is quite a bit of language in this movie. Personally it doesn't bother me because it is the typical British language. Oh and there is a comment about Eliza going to live with Prof. Higgins and not wanting "any clothes". Eliza's father sings a song about finally having to marry Eliza's mother. Nothing is explicit, but for younger children it might want to be previewed before you allow them to watch it.
What other families should know
Too much sex
Too much swearing
Adult Written bywhateverfloats September 14, 2009
Kid, 9 years old March 20, 2010
age 9+
 
A pretty good movie but they use dam about 15 times and god about 5 but a good movie!!!!!
What other families should know
Too much swearing
Great messages

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