Hello all and welcome to another Film Friday. This is my first Film Friday living back in New York, and as such I figured I would review a quintessential New York film that showcases some of the famous sites the city has to offer. That film is Breakfast at Tiffany’s, based on the novella by Truman Capote and starring Audrey Hepburn as the somewhat naïve Holly Golightly.
Holly Golightly is a socialite who gets paid money to keep company with lonely men. After sleeping off a particularly bad date, she is introduced to a new neighbor, Paul Varjak, who is a writer. She rushes out because she has to go to Sing-Sing to visit a mob boss, another client, who she gets paid to keep company for. Upon her return to The City, she runs into Paul again, as she is trying to escape another bad date via a fire escape. Due to her gratitude towards Paul for helping her escape the date, she invites him to a party she is hosting later that day. At the party are all the rich men and women who Holly socializes with. Holly tells Paul that she is going to marry one of the men there for his money despite not being attracted to him. A couple of days go by and she finds out that the same man is set to marry someone else. Attempting to cheer her up, Paul takes her to Central Park, a thrift store where they steal some masks, and finally Tiffany’s, which she states is the only place that truly makes her happy. She then states that if she found another place like it, she’d consider starting her life again there. Will Holly find that place, or will she continue to wander aimlessly through her life alone, surrounded by her “friends”?
One of the most beautiful and iconic shots is the opening shot of Holly getting out of a cab, walking down 5th Avenue at 6 am in the morning with a Danish and coffee, while looking into the Tiffany’s window. The emptiness of the city and the serene nature of this shot is exactly how peaceful Holly finds Tiffany’s. Despite the craziness of her life and how hectic New York City can be at times, when she’s at or near Tiffany’s all that matters is the current moment. An instrumental version of the Academy Award winning song “Moon River” is playing n the background, and it just adds something to the scene. While it is a gorgeous song and its lyrics are so peaceful the instrumental version really enhances this beautiful and poignant scene. You can’t help but be intrigued by this mysterious character standing at the Tiffany’s window. You want to learn more about her and inevitably you become drawn to the scene; it’s a great film introduction. In my opinion its one of the best openings in cinematic history. Fun fact of the review: Audrey Hepburn hated filming this scene because she hated pastries.
The chemistry between Hepburn’s Holly and Peppard’s Paul is outstanding. In many of the scenes, they played off of each other really well and I felt like they had a genuine friendship while filming this film. Hepburn’s character has so many sides to her and she played the part perfectly. She’s someone who never settles down and hasn’t thought about staying in one place, yet still realizes there’s so much happiness in the world, especially at Tiffany’s. One thing about the film that I really disliked and in fact made me extremely uncomfortable watching was Mickey Rooney’s performance as Mr. Yunioshi. The character is played in a way that is very racist and stereotypical of Asian people. It was very awkward, and every time he was in a scene I really wanted to fast forward. This isn’t anything against Mickey Rooney, he’s a great actor, but I felt like his character was unnecessary and didn’t add to the film.
All in all, I thought Breakfast at Tiffany’s was a great classic film. The acting was strong, the story was really unique, and the translation from book to screen was really well done. The music, particularly “Moon River”, was really beautiful and added to scenes where it was used. Like always, I will end with a question: what’s your Tiffany’s? Where in the whole wide world do you go to feel like the outside world ceases to exist?
4 out of 5 starsBreakfast at Tiffany’s (1961) Paramount Pictures PG-13, 115 Minutes (Late last year some of us on the blog answered the question I asked at the end of the review. To see our responses click here)