I feel like I will be sent to Movie Hell for saying this, but I don’t really like Breakfast at Tiffany’s. I didn’t really care for it the first time I saw it at age 16 (when I instead swooned over Roman Holiday), and I found that I still don’t care for it upon rewatching it over 20 years later. Other than the presence of undeniably luminous Audrey Hepburn in all of her fashionable glory, Tiffany’s just doesn’t really have any charm.
Hepburn plays urban hipster Holly Golightly, a single gal on the town who picks up men (so that they can pick up her tab), and lives in her New York City flat alone with her cat (who is aptly named “Cat”). Holly seems to have a unique glorious outfit for every occasion, and can don a huge-brimmed hat and cigarette holder like nobody’s business. She throws smashing cocktail parties that are the bane of the existence of her landlord Mr. Yunioshi (a shockingly horrific Japanese caricature played by Mickey Rooney), all without seeming to have any sort of regular job.
Into the building moves the dullest of leading men, a writer and a man-whore named Paul Varjak (snooze-inducing George Peppard). He is a kept man, as his publisher (snakey Patricia Neal) pays his bills and keeps him clothed (or unclothed, if you will). Holly crawls through Paul’s window, dubs him “Fred” after her adored brother, and a kind of romance is born. After all, Holly and “Fred” both sell themselves to survive (Holly’s only standing gig is to visit a gangster in prison, supposedly unknowingly passing information to his buddies via veiled “weather report” messages). Holly and “Fred” have a sweet, action-packed day that involves cavorting around town eating Cracker Jacks, going to the library, and window-shopping at Tiffany’s. Awww, a romance is born… or is it? As soon as the latest rich bachelor shows his face in the papers, Holly gets distracted, disappearing on a new quest for a rich husband.
My cohort pointed out that if Breakfast at Tiffany’s didn’t have the jaunty 60s soundtrack by Henry Mancini (including the super-famous “Moon River” crooned by Audrey herself), that it would be a depressingly bleak drama. Think about it: a perpetual singleton running from her past keeps herself afloat in the big city by whoring herself around. She has a pseudo-romance with a down-and-out writer that is also a whore that has hit rock bottom. Put booze in their hands and make them slur their lines, and this could be as bleak as Charles Bukowski.
All in all, you have to decide at some point if these two miserable people deserve each other, and whether you really care. Holly Golightly certainly deserves someone who can make her gorgeous face light up, but is it really this bland guy that is her knight in shining armor? What she really needs is not this guy, nor an engraved ring from Tiffany’s. She needs a bunch of gals pals named Carrie, Samantha, Charlotte, and Miranda to swoop into her life to give her the girl-power confidence that she’ll need to survive without grovelling to some dull man, whether rich or poor. Maybe it is a sign of how times have changed, but I found Breakfast at Tiffany’s to be sad and a little depressing.
The Centennial Collection edition of Breakfast at Tiffany’s comes with an entire disc full of extra features. There are a slew of extras, including a making-of, a profile of Tiffany’s, as well as the original trailer and photo galleries. Some of the more unique extras include “A Golightly Gathering” that showcases a mini-reunion of several of the actors who got to be extras in the famous cocktail party scene; “Henry Mancini: More Than the Music” talking about the man who made the famous score, from the perspective of his wife, daughter, and others; and “Mr. Yunioshi: An Asian Perspective,” a great inclusion, acknowledging the Mickey Rooney’s cringe-inducing caricature from the different cultural and societal perspectives.