In 1903 all of St. Louis is looking forward to hosting the World’s Fair, and they are feverishly getting ready for it, including the tight-knit Smith family. Judy Garland stars as Ester Smith who, through all the excitement going on around her, has managed to fall for the boy next door, John Truett (Tom Drake). The problem is that he has no idea she exists. Meanwhile, both of Ester’s older siblings are having love troubles of their own, and they must find a way to help and support each other even when their younger, very troublesome sisters are reeking havoc.
A cute movie, while not having the most brilliant of plots, certainly can put a smile on your face. Judy Garland shines with her beautiful voice, singing the vast majority of the songs. Though I was pleasantly surprised when Mr. Smith (Leon Ames) had his moment in the vocal spotlight, during a particularly heartwarming makeup scene between him and his family. Judy Garland’s rendition of the original “Have Yourself A Merry Little Christmas” is my favorite by far. Reminding us that the song was not always the cheery tune we know, but beautiful nonetheless, and it nearly brought tears to my eyes. A wonderful supporting cast included a refreshingly odd younger sibling “Tootie” (Margaret O’Brien), and Tom Drake did an excellent job playing the perfect gentleman and love interest. These supporting characters make up the hilarity of the movie. I wouldn’t have enjoyed it nearly as much if Tootie hadn’t been there to be the fantastically mischievous, and exaggerating little girl, who went out on Halloween to play tricks on the neighbors.
I do have to make a small side note, that the movie was more about getting to the next song than showing off any dialogue writing abilities, but all in all the quirky and entirely believable cast won out. The feel good musical stylings make it well worth watching. And if you want to believe in the power of the love a family has for one another, then watch and be amazed.