"two for the road" is a refreshingly unique example of abandoned gentility from both director stanley donen and demure glamour star audrey hepburn who has impressed audience universally with her princessly benevolent attribute. now both donen and hepburn have to deal with blatant exclamation of sex without descending into vulgarity even at moments audrey hepburn gets scorned as a "BITCH". meanwhile donen has to exert the french new-wave method on a non-linear script without losing his masterful touch.
this is a story upon a couple falling head over heels in love on the journey of hitchhiking along europe continent, entwined with their sizzling chemistry of opposite attraction: an amorous ingenue get smitten with cynical chauvinist who mocks marriage. somehow these two eventually gets married despite the collisions of their living philosophies.
the camera wheels along their conjuring of past memories, and it's like a story book clipped into pieces then pastiched together as the protagonists' threads of thoughts catapult from one ground to another, resonated with french post-structualist literature as the stream-lined time scale has been omitted while our spectrum of emotionality has been excerpted into microscopic inspections. but "two for the road" is incredibly far from self-indulgent eccentricity or disjointed style over substance that has permeated in "thomas crown affair" which is also another new-wave-tinted flick released in 1967.
albert finney is definitely not a debonair like cary grant who has been the frequent lead in stanley donen's romantic drama like "indiscreet" and "the grass is greener" (both movies are very britishly suave), and the rawly sneering mannerism of finney has been a great contrast to hepburn's girlish naivete (even she was 37 then), such as the conversation about "virgin detection", and once again it's also a dialogue-driven movie with timelessly contemporary wisecrackers upon love and sex within marriage. it doesn't appear dated even at 2000s with its bohemian viewpoint upon romance on the road.
once again, audrey hepburn's star magnitude whitewashes the possible sordidness within some serious subject matters in the movie, and that includes infidelity with lines like "i humuliated you, but i'm back!" or "sex is better when it means less because it ain't personal anymore"...the potential abrasiveness gets purified due to the childlike interactions of hepburn and finney even when the couple are committing improper sins, just like their remarks toward each other as "bitch" and "bastard" at the brightful ending of their smacking kisses. there's no sense of profanity but taunting of two kids playing houses.
as for the fashion aspect of "two for the road", audrey hepburn emancipates from her genteel wardrobe of givenchy (who has created the whole hepburn legend in movies like "breakfast at tiffany's" and "sarbrina") to reel into the leisure-wear with leather-skin jacket and blue jeans, along with a beatnik leading man who prefers sex as "good service without binding contract"...perhaps it reflects the conforming phenomenon of the upcoming 70s, even icons of gentility have to demonstrate their cinematic liberations for chicness as audrey hepburn into slacks and stanley donen into road-movie romance without self-composed gentlemen and ladies.