Friday, July 15, 2011

Audrey Hepburn in Breakfast at Tiffany's

Audrey Hepburn received her fourth Oscar nomination for playing the iconic role of Holly Golightly, a carefree, bohemian young woman in Blake Edwards' classic, Breakfast at Tiffany's. I think Audrey had a fair chance of winning her second Oscar in 1961. In fact, had I been around there, I would have placed my bet on her (or Natalie Wood) as the others didn't seem to be very likely winners. Page (although she got the Golden Globe) wasn't in a big enough movie, Natalie Wood was a bit too young to win, Sophia had the foreign language factor against her and Laurie was overshadowed by her co-stars. I guess Audrey was second or third (if they really loved Natalie).

Breakfast at Tiffany's is a classic. I think if you asked some people to say the title of one of Audrey's films, 80% would answer Breakfast at Tiffany's. And for a reason. This is a truly extraordinary movie that aged well. And it's surely loved by people. When I bought the DVD exactly a week ago in Germany at least 5 people in my group screamed when they saw my copy.I asked myself the question: Do I love it that much, too? The answer is a very firm YES. Indeed Blake Edwards created a totally originally, beautifully bittersweet fairy tale that charms people and warms up their hearts and souls.

However, there's one real reason why people love this movie that much. Surprise! It's Audrey Hepburn who created one of the ten most iconic performances of all time, in my opinion. If I'm very honest to myself, many of the performances that I love know won't be remembered at all in like 100 years. But that doesn't apply to dearest Audrey in Breakfast at Tiffany's. This istimeless, ageless work that will captivate the soul of people for ever. Some people say that Audrey was God's special gift to the Earth, a real angel. Although that seems to be a bit sentimental and cheey thought, there are times where I really believe it. For example, when I see the first minutes of Breakfast at Tiffany's. We see a beautiful, angelic person in front of the window of Tiffany's having breakfast and looking at all the diamonds and jewelry. Again, this scene really depends on your mood. If you let yourself become a little bit sentimental, you'll be amazed by Audrey instantly. The same goes for the scene where she's singing Moon River, which is probably one of the most adorable moments in history.

Holly Golightly is a much better developed character than people actually give Audrey credit for. In fact, this is a brilliant achievement by her. I loved how Audrey added all the layers to this girl. On the outside, she seems to be a very carefree, even careless bohemian girl who doesn't have much to worry about and she doesn't even want to. She feels good in her body, in her life. However, Audrey showed the vulnerable, insecure side of Holly and she gave her so much more depth than one would expect. I can compare the character to Liza Minnelli's Sally Bowles in Cabaret. Both are hopeful, carefree girls who are really unable to take responsibility even though they know what's right. They are terrified. While Sally has an abortion, Holly just throws her cat out of the cab. They act because of fear and devastation and not because they are bad in any way. Sally's hoping to have a film career, Holly still wants to bo to Brazil.

The way that Holly's relationship with her brother is shown is extraordinary. There's a tiny bit lame scene where she's screaming her brother's name in her sleep. Still, Audrey saves the scene because she didn't overdo it (it was a bit on the edge, though). For Holly, Fred is a reminder of her old life and she doesn't even try to give him up despite the fact that she's more than willing to forget her old life. It's a heart-breaking moment when she's faced with that. We see her old husband and for some minutes Holly becomes Lula Mae, the 14-year-old trying to get rid of her poverty. She finally says goodbye to her old life at the bus station and it's probably the most beautiful scene of Audrey that I've ever seen. I thought nothing of hers could top the beauty of The Nun's Story but, in fact, this one is quite close to that.

One of the biggest criticsm that Audrey usually receives that she only plays herself and relies exclusively on her charm to win the audience's sympathy. Breakfast at Tiffany's, in a weird way, disproves it (or at least in this performance). We all think that we identify Holly Golightly with Audrey Hepburn. However, if we take a closer look at it, we see how wrong that thought really is. In fact, it's really the other way around. We actually think that Audrey Hepburn IS Holly Golightly. It's no wonder since we can see the picture of her in this movie in the 75% of the shops all around the world. However, it was Audrey who got into the body of Holly and transformed herself.

I must also mention how great the comedy scenes are. I love how she poses to the press when she's arrested or how lovely she is when she's really drunk (and she doesn't overdo it). But I can also talk about her wonderful chemistry with George Peppard (The A-Team, how lovely childhood memories) whose performance is a little bit lacking. They are excellent together, though. I especially loved the scene where Holly went into Paul's apartment for the first time (and slept there). Audrey really excelled there, showing the vulnerability of Holly fascinatingly once again. You know, I really wanted Holly and Paul to be happy and everything and that's why their last scene in the rain is so adorable and yes, it's a bit soappy but it was really forgivable in this case, in my opinion.

It really must be my sentimental side that came to surface while I was watching this movie but I couldn't care less. I understand why some could criticise it but for me, Audrey Hepburn's work as Holly Golightly in Breakfast at Tiffany's is deservedly one of the most iconic performances of all time. Not only has Audrey Hepburn created an unforgettable character, but also some marvellous acting. She's both funny and shows all the layers and feelings of this character. Beautiful.

What do you think?

10 comments:

Fritz said...

Well, she might actually win! I agree that she is terrific here (and she got 4,5 which is very high from me). I'm still predicting Sophia for the win but Audrey should at least be second.

dinasztie said...

Well, I was very surprised myself at how much I loved Audrey. But I should have known as I love her in everything. :)

Louis Morgan said...

She could actually win, either way though I would not give her a five a liked her quite a bit as well.

Anonymous said...

Amazing performance, I completely agree with "We all think that we identify Holly Golightly with Audrey Hepburn. However, if we take a closer look at it, we see how wrong that thought really is. In fact, it's really the other way around. We actually think that Audrey Hepburn IS Holly Golightly".

dinasztie said...

Anon: Yes, that's right.

joe burns said...

I haven't seen her in years, but great review.

Anonymous said...

an iconic performance! Audrey Hepburn is incredible in this movie! I love your review§

dinasztie said...

Anon2: Thank you.

JJJ said...

Audrey is actually my favorite actress, and I get annoyed by people who say that all she was was charm and beauty. Thanks for this review that acknowledged certain flaws in the film - Peppard, the scene (I think this is the one you mean) in which Holly says that she hates snoops and the writing/line reading is totally unconvincing - but recognized that in her performance which allows so many people to love it. It may not be one of the most actressing nominations but it is definitely close to the top in terms of iconic status in our culture. Of course, you could say the same about Pretty Woman, for example, but we'll just ignore that.

Lukas Miller said...

Have you seen Audrey Hepburn in The Children's Hour and if so, how would you rank her on a scale of 1st to 5th place if she had been nominated for that instead of Breakfast at Tiffany's?