The Larrabees are a wealthy family, living in a palatial estate on Long Island. Oldest brother Linus (played by Harrison Ford) is the formal, dour businessman, running the family company. David (Greg Kinnear) is a playboy. Among the staff living on the estate is the family chauffeur, Fairchild (John Wood), and his shy, awkward, plain daughter, Sabrina (Julia Ormond). Sabrina has had a crush on David for most of her life but he has hardly noticed her. Sabrina goes to study in Paris and comes back, two years later, a changed woman. She's sophisticated and beautiful and soon catches David's eye. However, David is engaged to Elizabeth Tyson (Lauren Holly), the daughter of a business mogul whose company Linus wants to merge with that of the Larrabees. If Sabrina wrecks the David-Elizabeth relationship it would likely spell the end of the business merger. Linus sets out to prevent Sabrina from getting in the way but in the process falls for her himself.
The original Sabrina was released in 1954 and was pretty good (though not brilliant). Directed by one of the all-time greats, Billy Wilder, and starring Humphrey Bogart as Linus, Audrey Hepburn as Sabrina and William Holden as David, it oozed class and style ( though substance was in shorter supply). Plot was charming though a bit clumsy and not entirely solid. Some elements were too convenient or too contrived. Bogart and Holden were too old for their roles but Audrey Hepburn more than made up for this, capturing the beauty, sweetness, charm and elegance of Sabrina perfectly.
This 1995 remake faithfully follows the original plot, while updating the settings, technology etc to 1995. However, the director and writer didn't seem to put much effort into updating the characters, as all they seem like they are 1950s characters in a 1990s movie. There's a stuffiness to it all that is quite irritating. Some contemporisation of the characters was in order.
Where this stuffiness is most noticeable is with Julia Ormond as Sabrina. Sure, it would have been impossible to find someone to fill Audrey Hepburn's shoes, but Ormond doesn't even come close. She is beautiful and elegant but lacks Hepburn's charm, sweetness and warmth, coming across as aloof and wooden.
Overall, a reasonable romantic-drama, but not a must-see.
Not only is this film a good motivation for women but it shows a lot about the American working population compared to the European working population.
through this movie you discover that Europeans know how to live, and love what they live for. They know how to work hard but most importantly they know how to stop working and enjoy themselves now. Americans look for that AMERICAN DREAM (the financial stability to last their lives). Americans work so hard all the time for something in the future instead of living now when they can.
Sabrina repeats the notion that working constantly is too much and playing is never going to be enough. In Europe, they understand balance between working and relaxing for their own personal enjoyment. They understand that life is meant to lived right now not in the future.
I loved this movie! the humor is great when you are paying attention to the dialog and keep up with the plot.
In the original film, Linus's wooing of Sabrina is never presented as anything other than an attempt to keep her from David. In this remake, it's more ambiguous what Linus's intentions are. This is partly because Harrison Ford is a better actor than Humphrey Bogart in the original, but for a character who's supposed to be a stone-cold businessman, his ability to fool Sabrina and the audience seems too unlikely.
The humour in the remake isn't as broad or obvious. This is a more subtle film, but for that reason is also less entertaining. I will say, however, that the motives and behaviour of the characters in the finale of the remake are more believable than those of the original.
The remake follows the plot of the original very closely, much more than most remakes I've seen. I think the script ties itself in knots trying to find a modern way of portraying 1950s attitudes. This film might have done better to take more liberties with the plot.