Grown Up Movies for Kids: Singing in the Rain

I suppose this could also be a Beth’s Classic Film Club selection, but since we’ve already had a Gene Kelly movie, and since The Boy freaking LOVED it, I’m adding Singing in the Rain to my selection of Grown Up Movies for Kids. What’s that? You’ve never seen it? Do you live under a rock? Are you named Jennifer and do you write Real Life Parenting? Please just go find yourself a copy, you’ll be glad you did.

First, let’s talk about swearing, nudity and violence. None, none, and hardly any. This was the 50’s, they didn’t do nudity or swearing, and violence wasn’t in as many movies, and when it’s there, it wasn’t gory. The violence in Singing in the Rain consists of Gene Kelly’s character being a stunt man for a while, so he gets punched and crashes a plane. Oh, and at one point, a character gets hit in the face by a pie. Is that level of violence a problem for you? Then you’re probably not reading my blog anyway.

Singing in the Rain has inspired The Boy to pursue a career as a stunt man. And not just because Gene Kelly’s character is a stunt man, but because of the iconic dance number by Donald O’Connor, Make ‘Em Laugh. After watching this movie, The Boy spent the rest of the evening doing that spin-around-run-on-the-floor thing that Donald O’Connor does during that song, and also falling backwards onto the sofa. It was all I could do to convince him not to try more of the movies from that number because we were going to need some mats to keep him from injuring himself. We had to have a talk about Donald O’Conner being an expert and that his moves were something The Boy shouldn’t try at home. (Thank you, Mythbusters, for making this a phrase that The Boy is familiar with.)

Both kids liked the singing and dancing in this one, and there is plenty of it. It feels like you can’t go more than a couple of minutes through most of the movie without there being a song. And the technicolor is particularly eye-catching for kids and helps keep their attention, kind of like a cartoon does. I will say, though, that the “her voice sounds awful, she can’t be in a talking picture” plot didn’t make a ton of sense to them. Like, I think they didn’t understand about what a silent film was like. I think we need to expose them to some silent films for them to fully understand. Maybe The Golden Eaglet.

Singing in the Rain is part of the cannon of American cinema–it’s a film that everyone should see, and luckily, it’s one that kids can love as much as adults. So, if you haven’t watched it, or if you haven’t watched it with your kids, I hope you will–and post what they think of the film in the comments!

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