Thursday, September 4, 2008

I Heart Audrey!

I know it's been a bit since I've updated, but now that I'm back in school, things will slow down a bit. If you don't see anything new in two weeks, it means I've died in the library. Most of my posts will probably be like this: in the middle of the night when I should be sleeping or doing work. I'll do my best, to post with some modicum of regularity, but bear with me and tell your friends!

Recently, I had a wonderful evening with my friend where we stayed in, ate to the point of bursting, and watched Funny Face. Funny Face (1957) is a darling movie musical starring Audrey Hepburn and Fred Astaire. Audrey Hepburn plays uptight bookshop worker Jo Stockton who gets dragged kicking and screaming into the world of modeling by a photographer with an eye for offbeat beauty, Fred Astaire's character Dick Avery. It all begins with the women's magazine Quality searching for its Quality Woman: a smart woman with "pizazz" and, ironically, not much interest in clothes to model [and buy] the collection of a famous French couturier. Dick presents the idea to the editor who reluctantly agrees, and gets Jo to go along with it by promising her the chance to attend a lecture by her favorite philosopher. Shenanigans and romance ensue.

I loved this movie for a bunch of reasons. First, it's a musical! It also poked fun at avant garde/Beat culture with the bizarre [read: drug-induced, but Hollywood was too polite to say it at the time] dancing in Jo's favorite Paris cafe and the self-important philosopher who we all know is really full of crap. It goes without saying that Audrey Hepburn did an incredible job and that she looked absolutely gorgeous. She has the unique ability to be both conventionally and oddly beautiful. Of course, I loved the clothes; the collection Jo models is stunning and even in her dressed down, bookish attire, she looks great, with the exception of those hideous loafers. You can see why the Gap used her in their Skinny Black Pant campaign a while back. The loud, blue eyeshadow was hilarious to see on the editor Maggie Prescott and her flock of minions , but I'd love one of those tiny hats. Oh, the dawn of the 60s!

One drawback, perhaps. We know from the outset that Funny Face is a feel-good love story. But it seems that in the end, when Jo has swallowed her pride, she gulps down some of her values as well. It's fine that she sees she can be beautiful without throwing away everything she stands for, but it's whoosh! out the window for the fairytale of floating down the river on a raft in a fabulous wedding gown with Dick Avery. It seems to say that being smart will ultimately do you no good, as men will only see your body, that happy endings and smart girls are mutually exclusive. I think I may be rehashing an episode of Sex & the City as well as countless other discussions, but tell me your thoughts.

2 comments:

  1. LOL. not only did we eat to the point of bursting, but then i had to take u home in the middle of night and almost died on the way home.

    O, and then there was me being all bitter and cynical during the movie. I kind of decided that it doesn't suit me and I am going back to being an ever-optimistic romantic.

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  2. I loved The Gap ad that came out last year or the year before featuring Audrey dancing from this movie to AC/DC's "Back in Black"...and I have the feeling Hepburn herself would've liked it. Nice review - it makes me want to rent the movie soon.

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Thanks so much for your comments!