Breakfast at Tiffany’s
October 5, 2003
Starring: Audrey Hepburn, George Peppard, Patricia Neal, Buddy Ebsen, Martin Balsam, José Luis de Villalonga, John McGiver, Alan Reed, Dorothy Whitney, Beverly Powers, Stanley Adams, Claude Stroud, Elvia Allman, Orangey, Mickey Rooney, ,
“Ah yes, Breakfast At Tiffany’s,” I hear you say. “Audrey Hepburn. A classic.” Well, you’d be half right, because while Hepburn is her usual luminous self (helped by Blake Edwards’ longing soft-focus close-ups), dare I say it..? Breakfast At Tiffany’s is pretty average. Perhaps it’s the kind of film you have to have experienced first when you were young (or female) to really appreciate (that counts me out already), as what we have here is your basic romantic comedy template. And that’s the explanation for its blandness: it’s the blueprint for every Nora Ehpron or Richard Curtis film ever made, and over the years they’ve nailed it down to a fine art. Watching Breakfast At Tiffany’s in the year two zero zero four is like asking a kid to use a phonograph to listen to his music with – it gets the job done and there’s a certain nostalgic fascination at first, but then you realise you can do better.
If the story is predictable (you know in the first five minutes what’s going to happen in the end), the performances are excellent, namely by Hepburn as Holly Golightly, who can be a kooky little cute thing one minute and then get drunk out of her skull and tear her apartment to pieces in a rage the next. With her “darling”s and iconic poses in window displays, she’s every inch the movie star and it’s her that keeps you watching throughout. Peppard, better known to our generation as the cigar-chomping leader of The A-Team, is amiable enough, but it’s hard to feel sympathy for a struggling writer who still manages to have a snazzy apartment and a rich woman on the side. Money and sex – oh how awful!
The film is set firmly in the modern New York of the 1960’s with Holly struggling to find a rich man to marry, and wears its style firmly on its sleeve, yet for all it’s superficial beauty, we somehow get Mickey Rooney as a mildly racist caricature of a Chinese man who owns Hepburn’s apartment. You watch his performance with one eye closed, hoping he doesn’t blurt “Me so solly” and start bowing profusely.
When you think of Breakfast At Tiffany’s you think of Hepburn in THAT black dress or singing THAT song, so what does that say about the romance we’re supposed to root for when all you remember is a costume and a song about a river? Okay so there’s some thinly veiled symbolism (Moon River/Huckleberry Finn/running away from home/having no real name) but the story never really gets off the ground. Perhaps it’s not fair to overanalyze something so naive and fun, but perhaps this is the cynical world we live in now, and that says a lot more about how far we’ve come (arguably in the wrong direction) since Breakfast At Tiffany’s was made than anything else. But if you’re a sucker for a good old-fashioned romantic comedy, you could do a lot worse.
Nope. I’ve been searching all day and all I could find was a trailer. Doh!