By Ava Giglio ‘19
I was in fourth grade when I first watched Singin’ in the Rain [screening Saturday, April 8, at the Hop]. I I did not know much about the movie, but I had just started tap dancing and knew it had dancing in it. That’s all it really took for me.
Less than two hours later, I was emotionally changed and inspired. I wanted to dance. I wanted to act. I was going to be the next Gene Kelly—but a girl and somehow even better. Cut forward ten-something years and it appears I am actually a student at a small college in New Hampshire rather than star on the rise in Los Angeles. Nevertheless, the movie has stayed with me since, and for that I must pay tribute.
Singin’ in the Rain is, simply put, magic in movie form. It’s approximately one hour and 43 minutes of joy. The choreographic genius of duo Gene Kelly and Stanley Donen results in jaw-dropping numbers like Good Morning, Make ‘Em Laugh and my personal favorite: Moses Supposes. The effortless synchronicity and style throughout the film’s dances are not only impressive but impossible to replicate or outdo. There is a moment in Good Morning when Don (Gene Kelly), Kathy (Debbie Reynolds) and Cosmo (Donald O’Connor) tap up and down the stairs and they just make it look so easy. Here they are performing complicated steps in a precarious setting and they still smile and sing and entertain. It makes you think you can just tap up and down any staircase because they made it look so easy—even if when you try that maneuver it results in you falling down said stairs and getting a lecture from your mom about safety.
Beyond its splendid choreography, Singin’ in the Rain holds a special place in my heart for its dreamy ability to let me escape to a world that makes the impossible seem possible. From its at-times absurd plot (Kathy going from chorus girl to star in the matter of one role) to its seamless transitions from talking to singing, the movie musical exists in a world a little brighter than our own. It even manages to make rain something magical and enjoyable, rather than the dreary downpour I typically associate it with. The film’s unapologetic optimism may feel dated to some, but I view it as something to aspire to. Why not make a failing movie into a musical? Why not make a whole number of Donald O’Connor falling and being hit by various objects (for the sake of laughter of course)? Why not sing in the rain?
This month marks the 65th anniversary of the film, meaning if it were a person, it would be fast approaching retirement. But I still can’t see it fading out anytime soon. It’s a film that celebrates comedy, romance and the wacky world that is Hollywood. Ultimately what I believe it does best is engage and entertain you as a moviegoer. In my experience, the film leaves me with the same impression that Don Lockwood gets from singing in the rain in the iconic titular song: “What a glorious feeling, I’m happy again!”.
As one of my favorite films of all time, I recognize I’m very biased in my proclamations of love for Singin’ in the Rain. But I know I’m not alone in my adoration of it. Its relevance at age sixty-five is proof. I have always loved it for its ability to entertain, to captivate, and quite simply to put a huge smile on my face. I’m not proclaiming Singin’ in the Rain to be the greatest movie ever made. But I would be lying if I didn’t think it was one of them.
Born and raised in Los Angeles, Ava currently resides in Syracuse, NY. Her favorite activities include dancing, watching movies and eating popcorn. She plans to double-major in math and theater.