Smile Like You Mean It

         When we watched My Fair Lady, directed by George Cukor in 1964 and based on Pygmalion, written by George Bernard Shaw in 1913, in class it reminded me of my younger years. We watched it in grade school when I went to St. Edwards in Louisville. I still remembered it too. I liked watching it again because I could relate to it now that I am older. I think that relationship dynamics are hidden through the humor of Eliza Doolittle (Audrey Hepburn) and Professor Higgins (Rex Harrison). This is so easy to laugh at because of the way their relationship works. It seems the whole time they are both playing hard to get in their own way.

         Professor Higgins does a gentleman's gesture by letting Eliza move in and have a place to stay so that he can teach her how speak and behave properly, with the assistance of Col Pickering (Wilfred Hyde-White). With giving her lessons on how to be a proper lady in high society, their relationship grows. He is very hard on Eliza, which really shows that he respects her abilities and cares for as a person. They are both attracted to each other's appearance and character. Despite himself as a "confirmed bachelor," Professor Higgins grows fonder of Eliza as the movie goes on and then realizes it at the very end of the movie.

         I think that Eliza liked him the whole time, but her street mentality kind of forced her to shrug off her initial feelings, which showed me that she was playing hard to get. I was catching a vibe from her at the end also. She was being mean directly to Professor Higgins. This is, I think, a girl's way of the man that she likes him. She is playing hard to get. This was a funny musical and also a romance. Even though Professor Higgins never kisses Eliza, I would consider it a romance, much more so than in the original play because Eliza leaves him for Freddy, who does love her.

         In conclusion, I find the musical to be great because of the relationship dynamics that anyone could pick up on. One might not realize it, but by acting rude or distancing oneself from a significant other does send signals that should be responded to in a positive way, as Eliza and Higgins finally do at the end.

Eric Belmonte

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