Great Characters Wiki

Inez Alvarez is a supporting character of the 1944 novella Gigi, as well as its 1958 film adaptation of the same name. She's the maternal grandmother of Gigi Alvarez who wants to train her granddaughter to be a courtesan to a wealthy man.

In the 1958 film, she was portrayed by Hermione Gingold.

Why She Rocks

  1. Hermione Gingold does a powerful performance as the title character's grandmother/guardian.
  2. Even though she's a poor woman living in a shabby-ish apartment with her daughter and Gigi, she's completely calm and generous as she putters about making tea and reminding Gigi to keep her feet off the table. She's pretty much the most rational, sensible character in this story, as she only wants the best for her granddaughter Gigi. She's gracious, well-mannered, and low-key -- a vast contrast to her flamboyant sister.
  3. Her central story is one of regrets: though she was in love with Honoré Lachaille when she was a young woman, she left him when he strayed. Her daughter is a struggling, self-centered opera singer who has no man to support her after she refused to be the mistress of a wealthy old guy who owned a bunch of flour mills. Gigi's mother -- whom we never see onscreen -- never took to "the life." Inez's biggest hope is to see Gigi brought up in a proper way and taken care of by a man, preferably one who loves her, although she'll settle for rich. She's a good friend of Gaston, which is a strange relationship given their social-class differences.
  4. While both of the Alvarez sisters are "old school" and believe that a lady needs financial stability and a man to take good care of her, the everyday mothering and care for Gigi has given Madame a slightly different set of values. For example, Gaston doesn't like thinking of himself as a guy who Gigi needs to be protected from. But Mamita holds out for a respectable offer for Gigi, i.e., a commitment from Gaston to keep her as his official mistress in a lavish apartment with all the clothes, horses, and servants she might need. Madame also knows that Gigi's not interested in money and reputation and is more willing to acknowledge what Gigi wants even if she thinks she's making a big mistake.
  5. Despite often being fairly strict with Gigi and restricting her from having too much contact with the common people, she clearly has good intentions and ultimately proves to be a reasonable authority figure who's open to others' thoughts.