It may have seemed like an eternity, but I finally got around to watching My Fair Lady, one of the Academy’s most successful and highly regarded Best Picture Winners (1964).
Audrey Hepburn was Hollywood’s “it” girl back in the day, and she beat out Julie Andrews for the role of Miss Eliza Doolittle, a peasant girl who a speaking problem. She meets Professor Henry Higgins, a phonetics scholar, who wants to take Miss Doolittle under his wing and turn her into a princess.
Before we get carried away, this was probably the first incarnation of She’s All That, a movie my generation is all too familiar with. Higgins makes a bet that he cannot only correct her speech, but his goal is to bring her to the Embassy Ball and let her meet the most esteemed people of the day.
This movie started off kinda slow, and I was ready to hank my hair out when the film opens outside the theatre with Doolittle speaking in a god-awful voice. I sighed and figured I was in for a long three hours with characters I wouldn’t like in scenes that didn’t interest me.
Things improved quite quickly, and before you know it, Doolittle figured it out and then burst into a song about it. Her appearance and mannerisms both drastically improved, which help me get invested in the story. She managed to change her life and be the star of the embassy ball. Then things took a drastic turn when Higgins and friends completely disregard her and her success, taking all the credit for himself. He was a jerk most of the movie, but his tough love was all part of his teaching. Then he turned around and took all the credit, completely destroying Doolittle in the process. It was heartbreaking and gut-wrenching. By this time, I was deeply engaged in the story since I did not expect such a drastic turn of events.
What won me over, in the end, was Doolittle finally stood up for herself and decided to leave the lifestyle she tried so hard to imitate. In another shocking twist of events, her father is no longer a dustman and is now the neighbourhood’s richest man. For a girl who worked so hard and just wanted to own a flower shop, she wound up with nothing. It was quite surprising that she found herself in that situation.
I could have gone without all the songs in the movie; however, when Hepburn hits her stride, the songs improved, and so did my interest. I came to appreciate the movie and what the story stood for. In the beginning, I was filled with skepticism, only to kinda fall in love with it by the end. My Fair Lady was better than I could have ever imagined. 7/10