One of the greatest representations of family in the history of film. The natural, familiar mix of characters, as well as the easygoing vignette structure, create a down-to-earth tone and a sense of humble self-awareness, which allow for moments of suburban darkness to rub shoulders with the strange pleasures of corny songs, precocious child acting, and Hollywood cutesiness. Excellent.
Perhaps my favorite movie. Saw this on 35mm this Sunday and, don't know if it was just the film or the Holiday Season or the aftermath of what happened in Newton Conn. this Friday, but by the end half the audience was weeping like I'ver never heard an audience cry before.
As others have noted, there's some really weird and dark humor in here, all coursing beneath the rosy veneer of Minnelli's technicolor dream-vision of America. Which is not to suggest that the movie is particularly subversive, just that a casual morbidity is as much a part of the American (and especially Midwestern) character as delicate courtships, hometown pride, and the bonds of family.
"I can honestly say that as much as I love Judy Garland in it, it's the whole Vincente Minelli pleasing package. This version of America that I don't know I know if I ever quite bought, but it's very pleasant, this telling of it. The songs are terrific, it could not look better and it's just, it's just damn entertaining" -Quentin Tarantino on Meet Me in St Louis, summarizing my thoughts perfectly on the film.
I like that it has a bit of a dark side. The halloween sequence is brilliant, while the morbidly depressing "Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas" aptly illustrates why suicide rates peak at the holidays. Possibly the best musical of the 1940s.
I think Margaret O'Brien must be the most annoying child in the history of the world ever.
It baffles me that there are only negative comments about this film on this page. This was truly one of the greatest movies I've ever seen both in it's sentimentality and its technical marvels. I find it odd that whenever a movie about a functional family is made people seem to back off as if there's something wrong with it. This is a fantastic film about a family that happens to be functional. I highly suggest it.
"The Trolley Song" "The Boy Next Door" and the immortal "Have Yourself A Merry LIttle Christmas are gloires of the screen, magnificently performed by Judy Garland. Otherwise, this film is pure useless drivel about a bunch of midwestern idiots, including that little brat Tootie, the vilest child character who didn't die a painful onscreen death.
Inane nonsensical plot, characters with baffling motivations and poor development, I was pretty disappointed. It seemed like an excuse to string a bunch of songs together, and yes some of the songs are quite good, and I'm impressed with the choreography of the musical sequences fitting in such tight spaces, but the film overall is so stupefying that it permits me from enjoying any of the charm this film should have.