BREAKFAST AT TIFFANY'S
Directed by Blake Edwards and based on Truman Capote's novella, Breakfast At Tiffany's was released in 1961 and stars Audrey Hepburn as Holly Golightly, an eccentric socialite with a fancy, yet not-so-fancy lifestyle who makes a new friend in George Peppard's new neighbor Paul.
After the disarmingly unglamorous titular breakfast, Holly Golightly is presented to us as a beautiful, confident, likely wealthy and happy person but, as the movie develops, we see another side to her and dig a bit deeper into what makes her tick, revealing what is really going beneath the diamonds. Her new friend Paul goes through a similar arc, but with a key change of path later on. Framed as a romantic-comedy, this really is more of a romantic-tragedy as this character piece portrays a couple of layered and very human characters with relatable problems.
This is not your traditional rom-com and is closer in spirit to the likes of The Apartment or The Seven Year Itch, which also had more modern approaches to exploring relationships between men and women, not shying away from pointing out the loneliness and the cruelty that can often underline them. Audrey Hepburn gives a complex performance as Golightly, perfectly capturing the character's manufactured persona and the real person within. She is gorgeous, of course, and very upbeat but visibly wounded and dealing with a lot internally. One iconic scene sees the character singing Henry Mancini's "Moon River" and playing guitar sitting by her window and that sequence alone tells you everything you need to know about who she is.
Breakfast At Tiffany's is not without its problems, unfortunately. Mickey Rooney's caricature of a Japanese neighbor is racist and offensive, not to mention criminally unfunny. One can easily imagine a much better version of the film with his character removed entirely. This alone will turn off many viewers, understandably. Then there's the film's adaptation of Capote's text which takes many liberties, perhaps due to the times and pressure from the studio so if you're expecting a faithful movie version of the novella, this is not it. The characters, their relationship to each other, the settings and other elements are quite different here. That said, the film does manage to capture the right tone and convey the appropriate emotions really well, with a certain amount of depth.
Nobody films a party quite like Blake Edwards and, indeed, the director gets plenty of chances to display that in this movie, which looks fantastic thanks to excellent art direction and slick cinematography. While not a perfect film, Breakfast At Tiffany's remains a must-see: the performances (with the aforementioned exception) are too good, the movie is too charming and the characters are too interesting to pass up.
A flawed, yet unavoidable classic.