“Breakfast at Tiffany’s” is one of the all-time film classics. The screenplay, adapted from a novella by Truman Capote, breaks the expectation of a romantic film. It tells the story of Holly Golightly, a “real phony” who cannot find direction in her life because she doesn’t know what she wants. Audrey Hepburn’s multi-layered performance is magnificent as her charm and sophistication mask a lonely girl that struggles with commitment. Her thoughtful delivery of every line creates a series of heartbreaking highs and lows that should have won an Oscar. She is perfectly paired with George Peppard whose character exudes strength even though he is equally searching for inspiration in his life. These actors carry so much chemistry from the first time that she climbs the fire escape to their perfect day in New York City and the tearjerker ending. But the story again breaks the mold by allowing Hepburn to examine her life a la Cat rather than having a man give her that purpose. Buddy Ebsen also turns in a noteworthy performance as Doc. This character adds a huge layer into the understanding of Holly’s fleeting commitments and Ebsen garners a lot of compassion in a very short amount of time. The story is inspired as different characters seem to have one purpose but then serve a very different one (Paul’s “designer” eventually leads him to meet Doc, Sally Tomato leads to a change in Holly’s South American plans). Every line of dialogue is fascinating and unexpected. It just flows beautifully as the seemingly neverending series of plot twists never feel suddenly or out of place. The one thing that does seem out of place is the casting of Mickey Rooney as the Japanese Mr. Yunioshi. There isn’t really anything to be said that this that hasn’t already been said. At the time it was socially acceptable, today it feels pretty offensive, but we can’t allow that poor decision to ruin the magic that occurs during the other 96% of the film. The film did receive recognition from the Academy Awards for Henry Mancini’s song “Moon River” and his score that uses the theme at key moments through various styles and instrumentation. I find one of the most recognizable characteristics of the score to be the dramatic vibraphone chord (maybe a half-diminished chord?) at the end of transitional music to set up important moments. If you haven’t seen “Breakfast at Tiffany’s,” it is a must. It digs much deeper than a chick flick as the heart of the story revolves around a lost soul and the one man who can save her from herself.
[Pictured: Hepburn is the pinnacle of class and style]