Lately, some really wonderful vintage movies have been popping up in my Netflix Instant Play queue. I’ve had fun rewatching old favorites and discovering some new-to-me treasures. This week in the vintage cinema line-up, I’d like to suggest a movie to you that I watched for the first time just last week: My Six Loves. While the title was unfamiliar to me, the leading lady was not. Debbie Reynolds stars, who anyone who watches movie musicals knows and loves as The Unsinkable Molly Brown and Kathy from Singin’ in the Rain. She’s a high-energy performer with great comic timing who is just a delight to watch.
The title of this movie is quite deceptive–maybe a marketing tactic? It definitely sounds from the title alone like a sad history of failed love affairs. On the contrary, the “six loves” are the six children that Debbie Reynolds’ character, Janice Courtney, unwittingly stumbles into providing foster care for. While there is a dash of romance thrown in to the story line, the primary plot revolves around the changes–most for good–that the six children bring into the life of their foster mother.
Janice is a successful actress who is supposed to be taking a short break from the hustle and bustle of an exhaustingly public life when the children enter her world. One of the interesting things about this movie is the portrayal of Janice’s struggle to reconcile who she’s been with who the children need her to be: the transformation from media darling to stay-at-home-mother doesn’t happen overnight or without some stress. If the movie were remade for today’s audiences, I doubt there would have so many “tough choices” for Janice to make–she’d have a happy ending with six children and her career. Personally, I loved the way everything turned out for this untraditional family, and the message it gives about how vitally important a woman’s role as nurturer can be within her family.
My Six Loves features, of course, six young siblings and a loveable dog. A few high-jinx are par for the course, and Debbie Reynolds is just so good a physical comedy! There are some absolutely hilarious scenes involving children, dogs, malfunctioning appliances, and even a school bus. It’s a completely safe movie that I feel very comfortable showing to my children–I know they’ll appreciate the humor and enjoy the story.
If you are delighted by the prospect of viewing six siblings on film, then may I present you with a modern (and equally wholesome!) version? Created by the family of Design Mom Gabrielle Blair, Olive Us is a delightful little video channel which records the Blair siblings somewhat fictitious daily activities. Set in the backdrop of their current home in the French countryside, the short episodes are a humorous look at life from the children’s perspective.