Breakfast at Tiffany's - Movie Reviews - Rotten Tomatoes

Breakfast at Tiffany's Reviews

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½ November 27, 2016
Alright, let's get to the that elephant in the movie room first off: Mickey Rooney as Hiroshi. The problem here is two-fold, and one isn't as obvious as the other. Of course it's a grotesque act of everything that's been wrong with Hollywood since Griffith used white actors in black-face in the biggest movie of all time for a couple of decades, Birth of a Nation: it's a caricature of caricature, poking fun at the "type" of Asians that have buck-teeth and get ornery at the slightest bit of noise or distraction. That Rooney is actively *bad* at doing this is part of this too.

But what isn't looked at as much is the fact that the character is a waste of celluloid. Forget about the bad teeth and racism, there is nothing for Hiroshi to do, not depth, no dimension, the character itself is a type, which may be what goes in hand with the portrayal, and yet it is indicative of a problem with the film in general: it deals more in types than in giving us fully dimensional human beings to be empathic with. There is no empathy with Hiroshi, he is just... WRONG, in EVERY WAY!

Okay, over with that, good. Let's move on.

Audrey Hepburn is the light of the movie, even when (or because of) not having much to do aside from being sassy and being that Holly Golightly way of sort of being above everyone around her. Despite the qualities that might or should make her seem too much to take, that she has her ways of being a "free spirit" (that is, stubborn and difficult and such), Hepburn is always a humanizing force and is a joy to watch, especially near the end as the conflicts that Holly has been dodging, artfully or otherwise, come to a head with George Peppard's character. In a sense it's fitting that the cat, named I think 'Cat', is her one constant companion as Holly is like a super-stylish cat, always going about, never tied down, rarely showing her emotions (if she can help it).

He, by the way, may not fare quite so well, but a large part of that is that Peppard plays Paul as kind of a dullard, a man with little personality but, hey, he's the male lead, he's not an a-hole, so he'll be the love interest (or constantly trying to be, as Holly is the kind of girl who, well, can't be tied down). I think what makes the movie just so... okay for me is that the movie takes too long to really get going. By this I mean into making conflict for Holly more palpable; this happens when Buddy Ebsen enters in the picture, as the actual husband for Holly (not her real name, spoiler), and what it means as far as this past life being left behind for this new life in New York as a call girl (or, you know, we might see her as a call girl if it wasn't so 1961 and still in the Hayes Code era, one such thing I'm sure Capote's book is different). Before this, the movie is trying to be funny by (sigh) Rooney, and by some quasi-shenanigans in a giant party scene at Holly's pad, featuring a good if brief appearance by Martin Balsam, but it's really a drama with little moments of funny banter.

I wish I could express in a more coherent way why I didn't click with this, but I didn't. It's a movie that wants to get by so much on the aura of Holly, but it may be more Paul's journey, of seeing this character through his eyes, and in that way the movie hasn't dated well either, aside from the spots of racism. In the 'of course, but maybe' of this movie, it's easy to say that of course Breakfast at Tiffany's shows a more independent woman than would have been seen in movies even ten years before this - Holly lives on her own, supports herself (albeit through some dubious means), and isn't tied down to one man. But what surrounds a lot of the attitudes, even if you have to dig a little or not too deep for it, is still in a time period before women got into a feminist movement. Holly could be independent and go her own way... but can she really? What does that George Peppard speech to her from outside the cab speak to? If you love someone you must belong? What about having space in a relationship? It's a little deceptive about its ethos for freedom, sexual or otherwise, or about comittments in general.

So is it a classic? Maybe for some. I found Breakfast at Tiffany's to be that over-used 'O' word and has to be applied here: it's overrated. Period.
November 19, 2016
Review In A Nutshell:

If I wrote this review of Breakfast at Tiffany's during my first viewing, then what you are reading wouldn't have an optimistic tone; at the time, the film lacked a sense of purpose and featured a protagonist that is difficult to empathise with. Thankfully after my fourth or fifth viewing, the film has warmed up to me and I have finally seen the difficult to find shadings of Holly Golightly and the true intentions of George Axelrod's script.

Breakfast at Tiffany's is a film that I feel has lost its impact over time; during the time of its release, the film have touched on ideas that were certainly bold, given the restrictions and standards that had to be maintained in 1960s Hollywood cinema. The film avoids trouble from the film censors by tuning down the subjects that the film discusses about. Behind the film's gloss, are subjects of drugs, prostitution, and sexual integrity; these were elements that were blind to me during my first viewing as I was simply distracted by the rambling dialogue of Holly, trying the best that I can to understand what exactly that drives her. The more I watch this film, the more it was clear to me what exactly her intentions were, and it all boils down to class. This is a woman who has deluded herself to the idea that happiness could only be found through money, jewellery, and social status; to the point where a simple life is just not enough for her. This is a person who has sacrificed her body and time in order to gain one step close to her dream; and if there was a shortcut in achieving it, she would not even hesitate to take it. Finding the inner shadings of this character allowed me to find pleasure in revisiting Holly's life.

Before all of that, I simply saw Breakfast at Tiffany's as a romantic comedy driven between Holly and Paul's chemistry. At first, I never understood why he reacted so relaxed and uncritical of her during their first meeting, but now I saw it as him being mesmerized by her charming and bubbly attitude; with the heart stopping moment being the one where she asks him "How do I look?" I was love struck the moment I first encountered that scene and seeing this film about five or six times, and it still hits through me like an arrow. Immediately I was on board with their relationship, constantly on an emotional edge, hoping and wishing that they would push their relationship even further and eventually end up happily together. The film certainly does not make this easy as Axelrod, demands the audience's patience as it is of high importance to the film that their relationship to be explored as effective and as exhaustive as possible. Axelrod wanted to get the idea across that Paul is there in Holly's life to bring her down to the level that would make her happy, shaking her from this delusion of the high and rich; and done so in a way that does not completely spell it out for the audience.

Another thing that made me want to come back time and time again was the film's beautiful and glossy production design. Though the set of Holly's apartment is rather empty and lacking in anything fabulous, it does however effectively emphasise Holly herself; whenever she steps out in her slimming black dress with her jewellery and her infectiously classy charm, I could not help but be entranced, even long after the film has ended. Outside the apartment, the film takes us to Manhattan, and what a wonderful sight it is. Blake Edwards and his cinematographer, Franz Planer, have glamorised the city in such a way that my mind cannot help but get an urge for me to go back there. The film also drew me in with Henry Mancini's score; showing such beauty and tenderness, creating the emotional impact behind the film's visual gloss.

Blake Edwards has been known as a comedic director; notably the Pink Panther series with Peter Sellers and his light but slapstick sense of humour is certainly present in Breakfast at Tiffany's. Scenes including, the party sequence, and the arrest of Holly were moments filled with so much humour that it is hard to forget it. Along with these great and amusing sequences, come with ones that are now considered dated and offensive. The creation of Mickey Rooney's Mr. Yunioshi was certainly pushing it to the edge, where comedy is simply gone and all I see is ignorant racism; gladly his presence was not abundant enough for me to aggressively hate on.

As time pass and new generation of film viewers emerge, learning from previously established popular phenomenons; Holly Golightly would be one that would remain unforgettable and timeless. Audrey Hepburn has delivered through her role in this film a person that women could physically admire and ambitiously capture. The sad thing is that many of them do not seem to know the ideas that this character is trying to advocate during the bulk of this film; but nevertheless, Hepburn's transformation to Holly was a dazzling one and definitely deserving of the credit that she has received from it. It is difficult for me to come towards a decision on whether or not this here was her best performance; as films like My Fair Lady prove her to be versatile and brave actress.

I doubt Breakfast at Tiffany's would lose its ability to draw in new and young viewers, but it seems as time moves on, aspects of the film seem to wither and lose effect; to the point where it could be seen as hostile and disrespectful. I recommend seeing it, but enter with caution.
½ October 27, 2016
This film is oddly appealing, and I rather enjoyed it, despite its racist anachronisms, oddities, and general lack of plot. Hepburn, of course, is beautiful and quite pleasant to look at.
October 16, 2016
Insensitive Mickey Rooney caricature aside, "Breakfast at Tiffany's" charms past its imperfections.
October 15, 2016
Captivating performance by one of the best of all time - Audrey Hepburn. Despite racist undertones (more like overtones), a beautiful love story and I particularly found Hepburn's character to be a strong feminist one. Also love the symbolism, and the song "Moon River" is as beautiful a song as you'll ever hear. Would definitely recommend!
½ October 6, 2016
"Breakfast at Tiffany's" is dreamy and unusual, but also disjointed, melodramatic, and fairly racist. Hepburn was as radiant as ever as the insecure socialite, but it seems she never dropped her habit of overacting.
October 4, 2016
Great film. Trusts their audience's intelligence
September 27, 2016
Great movie. Hepburn is stunning.
½ September 11, 2016
Blake Edwards' direction and George Axelrod's adaptation of Truman Capote's novel create a charming and delightful film, with outstanding and fascinating (and iconic) costume design, with Audrey Hepburn's captivating performance stealing every scene, although no one can forgive the ugly, racist potrayal of Mr. Yunioshi, one of the most notable examples of racism in Hollywood's film scene.
September 8, 2016
Absolutely terrible! It's ruined a classic film, I'm going to have to watch the film again, to make me love it again!!
September 4, 2016
Aun sin conocer el libro original de Truman Capote, se deja ver con agrado
en particular por Audrey Hepburn. Algo de lo mejor de Blake Edwards.
½ August 26, 2016
Very disappointed after hearing about this movie my entire life. Although Audrey Hepburn is adorable and the fashion exquisite - it gave me a sleazy feeling that both characters were more or less prostitutes. The shoplifting scene really turned me off. There's nothing funny about stealing or selling your body for money.
½ August 15, 2016
I can't remember how it hit my radar but last week I decided to read Truman Capote's novella, Breakfast at Tiffany's. Although I had seen the movie a couple of times over the years, I had never read the book and I had heard it was very different from the film. Now that I've read it, I can attest to that being an understatement!

Who doesn't love BREAKFAST AT TIFFANY'S (the movie)? Audrey Hepburn's depiction as the hard-on-the-outside/soft-on-the-inside, New York socialite, Holly Golightly, is forever burned into our collective conscience. The iconic little black dress is still recognised by fashionistas as the one "must have" item of clothing for women. (When Christie's auctioned the film's original LBD in 2006, it sold for over US$900,000.) Tourists the world over still make a pilgrimage to Tiffany & Co's flagship store on Fifth Avenue to gaze into its windows, danishes and coffees in hand. And the film's theme song, Moon River, is still being played on radios and in piano bars all over the world, 54 years after it was released. (I'll never forget being in a karaoke bar in Japan many years ago and hearing a Japanese man singing "Moon Reeba"!)

The story plays out like an early episode of TV's MAD MEN what with all the parties, drinking and smoking going on, but director Blake Edwards' (THE PINK PANTHER series; VICTOR VICTORIA) BREAKFAST AT TIFFANY'S is a much sanitised and cheerful version of Capote's original dark story. In the novella, Holly is just 19 years old - we know that from her husband - and she is much more of a free-spirit than the film's Holly is. (Hepburn was 31 at that time, though she did look much younger.) Capote's Holly was bisexual and had smoked marijuana. While that seems almost tame by today's standards, movie audiences in 1961 were not ready to see such debauchery on the screen. Paul (played by George Peppard in the film) is similarly transformed for the big screen. In the novella, "Fred" (we never learn his real name) is certainly much younger than Peppard's age of 32. He, too, is probably 19, as he is just beginning his career as a writer. If he has a married woman as a lover/patron, we certainly don't know it. The character of 2-E (played by Patricia Neal in the film) is pure Hollywood screenwriter fiction. We also learn that his draft board starts showing interest in him when he loses his job. If he were 32, the board wouldn't be so eager to draft him into the army. That's another difference between the film and the novella. The film is set in contemporary times (i.e., 1961) while the novella is set in 1943, right in the middle of World War II when the government would have wanted to draft an unemployed, 19-year-old man into the army.

There has been much speculation over the years over who was the inspiration for Holly Golightly. Capote was very much the celebrity back in the late '40s when he wrote the novella and there was no shortage of socialites in his entourage. Comparisons have been made to heiress Gloria Vanderbilt, Oona O'Neill (daughter of playwright Eugene O'Neill, who later married Charlie Chaplin), and modelling icon Dorian Leigh. Capote once admitted that actress Carol Grace (who later married actor Walter Matthau) was a large inspiration to the character but he later claimed there was a real Holly who lived downstairs from him in New York in the 1940s. My feeling is that Holly Golightly was a composite of all these people plus one other - his mother, Nina, who was born Lillie Mae Faulk. (Holly's real name was Lullamae.) As for who was "Fred", it's obvious that it was Capote himself. They are both writers, they share the same date of birth (September 30) and Capote was 19 years old in 1943. In the novella, he never develops a sexual relationship with Holly (though many others did), which would fit the thesis that his mother is a part of Holly. Just as Holly chased after a Brazilian diplomat, Nina married Cuban-born textile broker, Joseph Capote, after she divorced from Truman's father.

Even today, BREAKFAST AT TIFFANY'S still tugs at the heartstrings, thanks in large part to Hepburn's charm, looks and timing. They don't make movie stars like her anymore! The film, though, it's not without its detractors for reasons other than the whitewashed screenplay. Mickey Rooney was cast as Holly's upstairs neighbour, Mr. Yunioshi, a role that in today's light is blatantly racist but, back in 1961, would have been quite amusing to watch. It was only 16 years after the end of World War II and America's feelings towards the Japanese were still very raw. Bucktoothed and myopic stereotypes would very much have been fair game back then. Edwards said in an interview before he died that he didn't think twice about casting Rooney as a Japanese person. (He wasn't the only director at that time to make that kind of casting decision. Mervyn LeRoy directed Alec Guinness to play a Japanese man in the 1961 film, A MAJORITY OF ONE.) However, Edwards said, "looking back, I wish I had never done it... and I would give anything to be able to recast it." Rooney took an indifferent position on the matter saying, "Those that didn't like it, I forgive them and God bless America, God bless the universe, God bless Japanese, Chinese, Indians, all of them and let's have peace."

The American Film Institute's (AFI) "100 Years...100 Passions" ranks what its members think are the 100 greatest love stories of all time. BREAKFAST AT TIFFANY'S came in at number 61 - not bad considering it wasn't born as a love story. If you haven't read the novella yet, I would encourage you do so and then watch the movie. I guarantee you'll never see the movie in the same light again.
August 10, 2016
This movie and book was more than fantastic. Audrey is an amazing actress. Love her
August 3, 2016
Audrey Hepburn is just everything. A true classic.
½ July 11, 2016
This is one of the delights of film. The movie is also responsible for one of the delights of music: Moon River.
June 29, 2016
A great nyc romance.
June 29, 2016
Breakfast at Tiffany's is a pleasant little charmer, and Audrey Hepburn is just a joy.
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