Breakfast at Tiffany's

Breakfast at Tiffany's ★★★½

I'm like cat here, a no-name slob. We belong to nobody, and nobody belongs to us. We don't even belong to each other.
-Holly Golightly

Blake Edwards directs from George Axelrod's loosely adapted screenplay of Truman Capote's novella of the same name. They've basically taken a story about a gay writer's fascination and friendship with a young socialite and turned it into a romantic-comedy, which explains it's out of left field happy ending. It sounds disastrous giving such a description out of context like that, but the film simply works because of one Audrey Hepburn.

Hepburn's portrayal of Holly Golightly is stuff of legend. Posing with her beehive hairstyle, black evening gown and exaggerated cigarette holder is part of pop culture iconography. She takes a character, that quite frankly should be unlikeable, and makes her unbelievably charming and memorable. Her performance is what makes the entire film work, and why the film is remembered. Period.

George Peppard, who will always be Hannibal from The A-Team to me, portrays Paul "Fred" Varjak as a bit of an introvert that seems fascinated by Holly from the instant their eyes meet. I guess that's one of my problems with the ending, while Paul always seems intrigued by Holly I never saw it as falling in love. With that said however, as it's Hepburn playing the role it's easy to see that he would have fallen in love despite that. My other problem with the ending is it's character realizations seems to come out of nowhere and doesn't seem true to form to what preceded it. Minor quibbles in the grand scheme of things however.

Then there's the elephant in the room that most people either choose to ignore completely or use the "it was a different times" cop-out. Mickey Rooney's ludicrous portrayal of a Japanese character named Mr. Yunioshi in full on yellowface make-up, buck teeth, exaggerated slanted eyes and thick eye glasses. If it wasn't bad enough that he was made to physically look like a World War II era anti-Japanese propaganda cartoon, his antics in the film embrace every single racist stereotype imaginable. Even if the character would have been cast by a Japanese actor it would still come off as idiotically racist, having a white actor do it just makes it worst. This has happened in other films of course, but they're not held in high regard as this one. The character is simply idiotic and an out of place attempt at low brow humor in what is a classy film in all other regards. I bring it up because it's a flaw in the film, like it or not.

In the end though, there will always be that one element that will keep this film memorable till the end of time: Audrey Hepburn.

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