I can’t get enough Audrey Hepburn lately. I’ve been holed up, knitting furiously to the gentle romance and the out of this world clothes that somehow only exist in films where she is involved. No matter what character she is playing, she somehow manages to be magnetic. Though some may find an obsession with her trite and something most work through after an attempted Golightly phase following a first viewing of Breakfast at Tiffany’s, Audrey Hepburn is undoubtedly a wonderful, iconic actress who left a serious imprint on the film and fashion communities.
And so, here you have it: my ranking of the top five films in which Audrey Hepburn starred. Watch a couple and you’ll definitely be inspired. If anything, it’ll really make you want to work on your posture.
5.) My Fair Lady
Though most people consider Breakfast at Tiffany’s to be an iconic style film, I was always much more taken by the Edwardian fantasies of My Fair Lady. From the grunge-y Marc Jacobs rags of a flower girl to the full-fledged McQueen couture in the second half, this film satisfies all visual needs. No trimming is left unrepresented. Rex Harrison is quite the stick in the mud in this film, but the combination of the Colonel’s grandfatherly quips with Eliza Doolittle’s planet-sized hats are enough to make up for it. At times it feels a bit silly that the whole thing is a musical, and I sometimes wonder what a songless viewing of this movie would be like (the movie is three hours, it’s not like there isn’t length to spare). Regardless, you’ll giggle at Hepburn’s Cockney accent and sigh at the vast quantities of lace.
4.) Breakfast at Tiffany’s
Breakfast at Tiffany’s is a bit like one of those stunning sugared apple and raspberry tarts you always admire when you walk past that fancy bakery that you are too intimidated to go into (is this just me?): It’s exceptionally crafted and certainly delicious, but at the end of the day you find yourself wishing you were stuffing your mouth with a chocolate doughnut instead. Though it may be pretentious fluff from time to time, Audrey Hepburn is marvelous to watch as Holly Golightly, a character who remains unparalleled on every level. Breakfast at Tiffany’s is the perfect little tart of the film universe.
3.) Roman Holiday
Roman Holiday is Audrey Hepburn at her absolute freshest, and it shows. Her excitement is practically tangible as she traipses through Rome. Her talent is still slightly rough around the edges, and that’s what makes this movie, in retrospect, all the more interesting to experience. Just a warning, though: never tell your hair stylist you want her crop from this film. I guarantee it looks good exclusively on the head of Miss Hepburn.
2.) Funny Face
Often neglected, Funny Face is one of Hepburn’s more unique roles. She plays a philosophizing book shop worker who is “discovered” as a model by Fred Astaire, and subsequently whisked away to Paris to take fashion photographs and do interpretive dance in smokey cafes. In many ways, I like to think of this film as more iconic than Breakfast at Tiffany’s, that is to say it is the aforementioned chocolate doughnut in comparison. Hepburn’s character is positively fierce and doesn’t sacrifice her willful and intelligent character even though she is now enrobed in Dior. Dreams do come true…
I hadn’t seen Sabrina until my recent Hepburn binge, actually. Which is probably for the best, because had I seen it as my younger self I would have decided it was unfit due to a lack of costume changes and an overabundance of male characters. Though now, I recognize it is really Hepburn’s most mature and rounded role. The film deals with the incredibly serious themes of suicide, class, and the complications of love beyond the usual “fireworks at first sight” motif films at that time tended to take. And there are dogs. Ultimately, it’s a movie that represents everything that makes Audrey Hepburn the queen she is: elegance, style, kindness, wit, and something slightly sad and very real.
What are your favorite Hepburn films?