Philip Carroll’s review published on Letterboxd:
Holly: "I'd marry you for your money in a minute. Would you marry me for my money?"
Paul: "In a minute."
Holly: "I guess it's pretty lucky neither of us is rich, huh?"
Truman Capote's novella is brought to the screen with Audrey Hepburn playing naive socialite, Holly Golightly, who lives in a shabby apartment with her cat and mooches off wealthy men as well as performing other shady favors to pay the bills. While Paul the new tenant has just moved in upstairs and is a struggling writer that gets by performing some favors of his own. The two meet and instantly hit it off after she let's him in to use her telephone and then invites him back for a party later. It's only a matter of time before Paul falls in love with her but quickly realizes that Holly has some major issues, which include running away from her past and her obsession with marrying a wealthy man to live off of.
The first time I saw this, I had no idea what I was getting into and assumed that this would be another light hearted, whimsical film with Hepburn in her gorgeous hats and dresses. While the costume design didn't disappoint, it was only about ten minutes in when I realized that this was something else entirely and the glamorous doll of Hepburn had actual flaws and they were coming out in spades onscreen. Needless to say that I was taken aback and initially not a fan. But after rewatching it years later and in a theater no less, I absolutely love it now. There are so many adult themes and topics that are hinted at but never outright said and I imagine it's because they wanted to reach a wider audience when this was originally released in the early 60s. I'm sure many people did the same thing I did and saw Hepburn on the poster and assumed they were in for a certain kind of movie. Regardless, it left plenty of topics up for discussion afterwards between my friends and I on what a scene meant or was implying. Right from the start, we see Holly arriving at her apartment in the early morning and buzzing in because she always loses her keys and had obviously been out all night while a man follows her in, who was complaining about buying her and all her friends drinks as she leaves him out in the hallway still yelling. Then Paul shows up and the two form an odd sort of friendship that's constantly pushing each other's boundaries as we see when Holly sneaks out her fire escape to get away from another loud man at her door and she catches Paul in an awkward position before coming through his window and snuggling up with him in bed. The following evening, we see the kind of people that Holly hangs around when she throws a huge party in her tiny apartment and the place is comically packed wall to wall. There are so many gradual hints of Holly's lifestyle that builds to her eventually hitting rock bottom. She's truly a sad and damaged character and Hepburn gives a terrific performance. While Paul initially comes off as a care free individual, he too has his own set of problems and that's how the two feel so connected. Unfortunately, Holly thinks the solution to all her problems is to marry wealthy while simply treating Paul as a shoulder to cry on and nothing more. It's a heartbreaking tale for sure.
Things eventually come to a head towards the end and Paul finally confronts Holly about everything. Now as much as I appreciate the ending, I do feel it was wrapped up a little too neatly and am curious if the novella does the same. Regardless, this is a phenomenal film with a brilliant cast and a heartwrenching story of two damaged people from rough backgrounds coming together and finding comfort in one another. The score is beautiful and the oscar winning song "Moon River" that's performed by Hepburn captures the film's tone perfectly. However, I did feel sorry for the cat or cats that they used in this because they had a pretty rough time between the party scene, Holly's meltdown and being stuck out in the rain at the end. Also, there's the landlord who is a horribly dated Asian stereotype played by Mickey Rooney that's sure to offend today's audiences but again, this was made about 60 years ago so you shouldn't dwell on it too much. Other than that, this film absolutely holds up and I very much look forward to future viewings and analysis of it.