Film Review: Breakfast at Tiffany’s

Laith Alobaidi


 

****

Screen Shot 2015-11-03 at 08.55.16
BFI

There is really only one word in that can describe this film: charming. Audrey Hepburn’s iconic portrayal of ‘Girl-About-Town’ Holly Golightly is captivating from beginning to end. She is both materialistically elegant and morally complex. Despite straying from the dangers associated with making it in the Big Apple – as Truman Capote expressed in the novel – this romanticised retelling of the narrative does not detract from its ability to please audiences.

The appeal of the film lies largely with the protagonist’s likability. Although seemingly angelic at times, we soon learn that Holly is a deeply troubled character, whose flaws serve as the central conflict of the film. As a result we’re given a deeply complex round-character (of course not physically, as E.M. Forster would say) – yet perhaps as a consequence, we are left with a multitude of flat characters, most notably Holly’s male counterpart Paul Varjak (George Peppard). Although Varjak is the most developed of the underdeveloped characters, he lacks the distinguished essence needed for us to sympathise with him; rather, he continually plays second fiddle to  Holly. This is the largest hole in the film’s narrative, for the flatness of secondary characters, such as Mickey Rooney’s over-exaggerated portrayal of Mr Yunioshi, is forgivable (and thankfully forgettable) in that it does not disrupt the plight of the central romance.

Bursting with brilliantly picturesque cinematography, viewers remain visually engaged throughout, as cinematographer Franz Planer and director Blake Edwards harmoniously capture both the chaotic lifeblood and the serene silences of 1940s New York, with shots that have successfully cemented their place in movie history. Between Hepburn’s magnetic performance, sublime visuals, and a soundtrack filled with enough charm to sink the Titanic (not least to mention one of the greatest performances from a cat in cinematic history), the film rightfully earns its iconic status.

Watch Breakfast At Tiffany’s at The Poly, Falmouth, on Wednesday 4th November. More information can be found at thepoly.org

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