Funny Girl (1968) Movie Review: Much More Than a Musical Comedy

By: Alex Phuong (A Toast) –

The Golden Globes like to honor musicals and comedies in the same category together. Indeed, there are thematic elements from both genres that make them complement each other. Some famous musicals are not always so light-hearted, such as Les Misérables (2012), and some comedies also employ dark humor and satire, such as Dr. Strangelove or: How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love the Bomb (1964). Funny Girl is a very interesting combination of humor, music, and drama as the audience witnesses Barbra Streisand play the iconic Fanny Brice.

A Toast

This musical has remained popular for decades, and many do enjoy this film version. It is a bit of a shame that this film almost left the Oscars empty-handed for two primary reasons. The first reason is that another musical (Oliver!) garnered more attention and awards buzz even though it is simply Oliver Twist told through song and dance. The second reason was that the only Academy Award that this film won was for Barbra Streisand’s famous tie with Katharine Hepburn’s victory for The Lion in Winter. It is almost as if the best dramatic performance and the best comedic performance from two actresses shined brightly in 1968. It is also worth noting that Barbra Streisand actually voted for herself, which helped her earn her first Oscar. This film might have had limited support from the Academy, but it still remains a seminal silver screen musical.

Verdict

The story of Fanny Brice has enchanted audiences long before the making of this film. Streisand has even said in her famous Oscar acceptance speech that the first script of Funny Girl was written when she was only eleven years old, and that she was very lucky to play the lead after she became an adult. The impact of this film is still prevalent in the twenty-first century because there are many current Broadway productions of Funny Girl that exist in the present day. Many people from this generation also learned about this film through the TV show Glee because this is Rachel Berry’s favorite movie. With a variety of different songs ranging from the show-stopping “Don’t Rain on My Parade” to the subtly nuanced nature of “People,” it is certain that this musical will remain a classic. Its popularity ensures that no one will rain on Streisand’s parade!

Funny Girl (1968) Drinking Game

Take a Drink: whenever any of the characters speak or sing the phrase, “funny girl”

Take a Drink: every time Barbra Streisand sings the phrase, “What a beautiful, beautiful name!”

Drink a Shot: whenever the characters sing the titular phrase of whatever song they are singing (i.e. “I’m the Greatest Star,” “People,” and “Sadie, Sadie”).

About Alex Phuong

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