Sabrina (USA, 1954)

Directed by: Billy Wilder. This is turning into a year of shameful firsts: my first Almodovar, my first Bertolucci, and now, shamefully, my first Audrey Hepburn. This one was on my list for a long time, ever since my attempt at Wilder’s filmography sort of sputtered out last year after Stalag 17. I can now say that I’ve been converted; I get it now; I am an Audreyite. She really is a very charming presence, and it’s great to see a film structured all around a woman’s desire, even if the starlet is sandwhiched between two male heavyweights like Bogart and Holden (not that she minded, I’m sure). This movie isn’t the funniest Billy Wilder movie I’ve seen, nor the best onscreen romance you’re likely to see—in fact, I think both aspects are better represented in The Seven Year Itch. Bogart’s sudden, love-at-first sight infatuation isn’t really explored, and it’s sort of the fairytale chivalric thing that romantic comedies are made of, but that stuff tends to bother me a bit sometimes. Still, in this world of suspended realism, it’s pretty easy to go along for the ride, especially when the talents of these actors are of such a high calibre. Yet, for all my griping, there really is something about Sabrina that makes for a wistfully memorable film. It’s your first love and the most perfect love all wrapped in one. Everyone is likeable, there are no real villains or anything, just emotions getting the better of people, and everything eventually working out perfectly. It’s great to see Bogey transmute his hangdog demeanor to something lighter than bullets, gangsters and resistance fighters. It’s great to see Holden as an airhead playboy rather than some intense, violent, cynical protagonist. And it’s great to watch Audrey do her thing. That being said, there wasn’t enough Audrey in this movie to satisfy my Audrey appetite, and that must be amended.

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One response to “Sabrina (USA, 1954)

  1. Pingback: List of Judgements, Anno Domini 2012 | Offhand Reviews·

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