When Patrick Dennis's father has a heart attack at his club, a day after writing his will, Patrick is shipped off to New York to live with his Auntie Mame. To say Mame Dennis is eccentric is an understatement. She lives life to the fullest and is bound and determined to make sure young Patrick does the same. When her definition of living gets in the way of the trustee of Patrick's estate, all bets are off, and good times will be had by all.
I can't tell you how many times I have seen this movie. I know that it's at least twenty, and I'm pretty sure I'll watch it at least twenty times more. I was in high school the first time I saw it. I happened to be flipping through the stations, and for whatever reason I landed on A&E. Believe it or not, A&E used to be a channel that played movies, before it became just another source of "reality" TV. Regardless of how I first came across it, I was in love within a few minutes. I could not take my eyes of the over-the-top greatness that was Rosalind Russel as Auntie Mame.
Here is a character that lives life to the fullest, doesn't care what others think of her, and has the biggest heart of anyone I've seen on the big screen. She takes to little Patrick like a duck to water. She brings him into her home, and tries to instill in him all the values she holds dear to her own heart; a caring heart, an open mind, a curious nature, and a love for life. They get into a lot of little adventures, including naked education, and they enjoy every little moment of it.
It's not all fun and games though. Patrick's trustee forces him into a boarding school, and Mame loses all her money in the stock market crash. Mame is forced back to work, first in a disastrous return to the stage with her best friend, Vera Charles. I can't hear a bell ring and not think of that scene. She goes through various other jobs before ending up at the roller skate counter at Macy's, during a rather bleak, broke Christmas.
But that Christmas starts a turning point in there lives. Mame meets a new man, travels the world, and Patrick grows up and meets a girl of his own. I don't want to go into every plot point and twist, but there are laughs, tears, and a whole lot of fun to be had by all. Through it all Mame and Patrick tackle life together, face down bullies and snobs, write a book, reunite with old friends, make new ones, and they live life to the fullest. As Mame says, "Life is a banquet, and most poor suckers are starving to death!"