Breakfast at Tiffany’s (1961)

If the only music in the world were variations of “Moon River,” it wouldn’t be so bad.

I can’t tell you why it’s taken me so long to see this film, but when I heard that song, I knew a screening was of high priority.

Breakfast at Tiffany’s is the story of Holly Golightly (Audrey Hepburn), a young, elegant woman of New York City who may or may not be a call girl. She draws the attention of the man upstairs, Paul (George Peppard, The A-Team series), who reminds her of her military brother, Fred. Holly is soft, a naïve girl who lives her life through the financial support of wealthy men, and she is drawn to their pockets almost innocently.

Paul begins to fall in love with Holly, even after learning that she may have an old husband, or that she might be running off with an affluent Brazilian. She’s just aimless, he decides, a free spirit who has in fact enslaved herself in the pursuit of absolute freedom. When she too reaches this conclusion, she makes a decision that is one of the most romantic in film history. I swear that I watched the ending again so that I might continue to feel its warmth.

Director Blake Edwards, certainly assisted by composer Henry Mancini, brought the Truman Capote novella to life in a way I could not have imagined by reading it. Yes, the film does run through a few clichés on the way to the end, mainly in stagy, melodramatic moments, but this is Old Hollywood. Movies were made like that, they just were. Racial stereotypes are also abused, as seen here with Mickey Rooney’s slapstick misfortune, Mr. Yunioshi. But maybe we should just resolve to never do that again, and move on.

In the 55 years since this film was released, Breakfast at Tiffany’s has become justifiably iconic. It’s become such a part of our culture that girls hang up posters on their wall without having seen the film. Hepburn’s Golightly was a girl ahead of her time, and perhaps her time is now. But then again, it might always be now, because that girl will never die.

4 Green

Breakfast at Tiffany’s is available on Netflix.

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