Roman Holiday 1953 ★★★★½
Watched Aug 17, 2012
This review reportedly contains spoilers.
I can handle the truth.
Travis McClain said:
I had given no thought at all to seeing this, much less catching it at The Louisville Palace, but after my plans for Saturday fell through, I decided that tonight would be a solid night to finally get down to the J.B. Speed Art Museum and spend some time with Chester Harding's portrait of Daniel Boone one last time before the museum closes for its three year renovation project. Being a stone's throw from the Palace made it seem pretty obvious that I ought to pop in on their classic movie series afterwards and this just happened to be tonight's feature. I went in knowing only the title and not a thing more.
To the best of my knowledge, this was the first time I'd seen Audrey Hepburn in a film. There were several shots where I felt she bore a striking resemblance to Natalie Portman. I found those instances took me out of the movie momentarily, as I would flash to an imagined remake of the film with Portman in Hepburn's role of Princess Ann.
I've discussed often the appeal of seeing a film in its natural environment, the theater, and I think this was a perfect microcosm of that. Much of the appeal of the film lies in its deft sense of humor. At home, by myself or even with a few others, I doubt I would have actually laughed aloud at much of the gags and quips. At the Palace, however, with an enthusiastic audience reacting to each bit, I found the whole thing a tremendous bit of fun. The moment when Joe leads Ann to his apartment and he almost walks her into the wall because she hasn't actually managed to follow him up the stairs? At home: amusing. At the Palace? Hilarious!
Seeing this at The Palace was perfect in another aspect, as well. My friends who joined me had never been there, and it was a thrill for me to watch their reactions. The place is breathtakingly gorgeous, overwhelming with its intricate decor. It was almost surreal to watch Hepburn eye her lavish surroundings while inside that specific venue. One friend joked that she thought Hepburn was somewhere in the theater with us. A little thing, certainly, but it was one more element of the viewing experience I couldn't have had at home, or really any other theater in our area.
I had come to fear halfway through the film that we were headed into How to Lose a Guy in 10 Days predictability, which is why I was so satisfied at the way the film concludes and leaves our two protagonists. I've had a couple of really nice, unexpected, times this summer that have not evolved into something ongoing. It's been disappointing, but I've tried to be mindful that I should just appreciate the isolated incidents for what they were, regardless of their finite nature. A good friend of mine has chastised me when I've strayed from that perspective, and I suspect both Ann and Joe were similarly prompted by their own friends in their post-movie lives.
Roman Holiday was a perfect cap to my summer in a lot of ways. I came to the film myself on an evening of carefree indulgence, doing as I pleased. I didn't get to traipse around Rome, but I got to see the Harding portrait of Boone, hang out with some friends and catch this screening at my favorite venue in the entire world. Now, if only I could find a drugged princess sleeping on a city bench....
How It Entered My Flickchart
Roman Holiday > Clerks.
Roman Holiday > Tremors
Roman Holiday > Superbad
Roman Holiday < Up in the Air
Roman Holiday < The Rock
Roman Holiday < The Life Aquatic with Steve Zissou
Roman Holiday < Star Wars
Roman Holiday > The Monday Before Thanksgiving
Roman Holiday < The Ramen Girl
Roman Holiday entered my Flickchart at #168/1395