So I’m a little late. There was the Raptors/Nets game that devastated me. There was “Game of Thrones”, which I obviously could not miss. But better late than never, right?
There is no leading lady I idolize more than the one-in-a-million Audrey Hepburn. She has this essence about her that is impossible to duplicate. Every character she has played could not have been done better by anyone else, this I fervently believe.
Like many, my first Audrey was none other than “Breakfast at Tiffany’s”. I literally could not take my eyes off her. As slim as she was, she commanded the screen with her presence, filling it with her untouchable beauty. Her rendition of “Moon River” was adjusted to equal her singing range and even then, it is soft and sincere from the first note to the very last.
And the clothes. Little black dresses, huge classy hats, loud jewelry, a loosely knotted bandana, a plain white tunic, a fitted trenchcoat, a frickin’ tiara.
By the end of it, I wanted a cat to call Cat (and I don’t even like cats). I wanted to strum a guitar and sing “Moon River” on my windowsill (no, I don’t play at all). I wanted to sport impractical sleep masks and cute tassels serving an earplug purpose. I wanted to hide an old-fashioned telephone in my suitcase and cut a bathtub in half for a sofa. I wanted to spend a day doing all kinds of things I’d never done before. I wanted to get all dolled up just to go to Tiffany’s and ask if they would engrave a ring found at the bottom of a Cracker Jack box. I wanted to adorn myself in Givenchy, wave a cigarette holder (sans cigarette) around, turn to Mark, and say – in my best Audrey imitation – “How do I look, dahling?” I wanted to wear a tiara, damn it.
Then I rented “Roman Holiday” and everything changed. I imagined myself a princess, kept from the outside world, yearning to explore it amongst the commoners without anyone recognizing me. You know, like Rapunzel in “Tangled”. I wanted to chop off my hair (okay, no) and be waltzed around Rome by a handsomely devilish man who secretly knew of my identity. I wanted to drive a scooter around in a knotted handkerchief, white blouse, and conservative tan skirt. I wanted to make the supposed Mr. Nice Guy fall in love with my wit and charm, my royal status be damned.
“My Fair Lady” brought me to Edwardian London. I would like to say I visualized myself as Eliza Doolittle, but my Cockney accent is dreadful. But to be swept up off the streets selling flowers to have lessons to transform me into a proper lady? I’ll take that.
Audrey’s “Funny Face” character, Jo Stockton, could have been a kindred spirit of mine. A bookshop clerk and amateur philosopher, she is plucked from obscurity to star in a fashion shoot, all the while disapproving of the fashion and modeling industry. She is sold at the mention of Paris, where Jo’s idol – famous philosopher and professor – will be lecturing on empathicalism. Hell, Paris would’ve sold me too! My favourite scenes were the fashion shoot ones, where Dick mentors Jo in creating the perfect shot by creating back stories for the characters within them.
The savviness of “How to Steal a Million” stole my heart. “Breakfast at Tiffany’s” is not the only Audrey film to feature an impressive array of clothing. Who wouldn’t want a man who adapted a false profession to help you rescue a forged renowned statue belonging to your family from a museum with a maximized security system?
But, oh, “Two for the Road”. It means more to me than any of the previously mentioned films. Of them all, it is the most relatable, without any fancy embellishments – no weekly visits to Sing Sing, no royalty, no elocution lessons, no fashion shoots or modeling shows. Just a story about a couple who realize somewhere down the line, the passion has faded from their marriage. The chemistry sizzling between Audrey and Albert Finney is palpable and the simple satisfaction of sharing one another’s company in the earlier years of their relationship made it such a heartwarming movie altogether. The ways in which change has come to them is easily determinable and although it was inevitable that they would end up together, their hard times still had the means to hurt my heart. It made me want to snuggle up to Mark when the credits began to roll. It made me reflect on the years that we’ve seen and it made me want to thank him for going the distance with me.
These are the Audrey films I’ve seen so far and I’ve loved every single one.
So, to an iconic, doe-eyed, beauty of a woman:
Happy 85th Birthday, Audrey!