Study Guide

An American in Paris Henri Baurel (Georges Guetary)

Henri Baurel (Georges Guetary)

With his successful singing career and sophisticated French charisma, Henri Baurel is the polar opposite of Jerry and Adam. He's optimistic, he oozes confidence, and, most of all, he's kind. And that's precisely why he ends up all alone in a doofy masquerade ball costume at the end of An American in Paris.

Henri and Lise met during World War II. After she was orphaned, he took her in. As she grew up, they fell in love. Now, as an adult, Lise loves Henri, but she's not in love with him. If you've ever been dumped, we don't have to tell you that there's a big difference between the two.

While Henri, by all accounts, is head-over-heels for Lise, she doesn't feel the same way about her savior-turned-boyfriend. Lise agrees to marry Henri out of gratitude or obligation, not because she wants to move to America with him and raise a bunch a singing and dancing baby Baurels. Simply put, Henri doesn't make her heart skip a beat; Jerry does. We hate to point fingers here, but maybe if Henri's successful singing career didn't keep him so preoccupied, he might have noticed that his girlfriend was totally dating another dude.

We're not here to bag on Henri, though. He's the most noble character in the film. You know that old saying, "If you love something, set it free"? That's exactly what Henri does. When he overhears Lise and Jerry's emotional goodbyes on the balcony at the art students' ball, he knows what he has to to do. That's why he personally brings Lise back to Jerry. If we were Henri, we would've given her a unicycle and told her to get to pedalin.'

Fortunately for Lise and Jerry, Henri's a better person than we are. Just as Henri was kind to Lise as a young girl, sheltering her during the war, he's kind to her as a young woman, delivering her to Jerry. Sad? Sure, but think of it this way: for Henri, Lise isn't the one who got away. She's the one he gave away, just like the surrogate father he was meant to be.

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