Breakfast at Tiffany’s (1961)


You know how people often say such-and-such actor “lights up the screen?” Well, that phrase was made for Audrey Hepburn, because that’s what she does in Blake Edwards’ adaptation of Truman Capote’s novella, Breakfast at Tiffany’s. As Holly Golightly, she plays a woman trying to reinvent herself by marrying rich. George Peppard plays an up-and-coming writer who can’t help but fall in love with her. How could he not? She’s Audrey Hepburn! Unlike most romantic comedies, nothing is too contrived and you don’t have to suspend your disbelief. Peppard wants Hepburn for the same reason we do — she’s captivating. Also unlike most romantic comedies, the third act isn’t just a painfully paint-by-numbers reconciliation. Everything is organically hinged on Holly’s inner conflict, her struggle with her own goals and dreams. A certain unnamed cat ties into the emotional climax of the movie, and I’ll be darned if the furry little bastard doesn’t make me cry. If there’s a sour note in this delightful picture, it’s Mickey Rooney’s racially-offensive depiction of the landlord, Mr. Yunioshi. But we’ll just let Hepburn’s charm wash that mark away. Hepburn was Oscar nominated for her performance, and Henry Mancini took home two Oscars for his music, which includes the eternally enchanting “Moon River.”

Academy Awards: Best Score, Best Song

Nominations: Best Actress (Audrey Hepburn), Adapted Screenplay, Art Direction

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