An Argument For Funny Face Being Audrey’s Best
Audrey Hepburn defined an entire era of film. She is classic, iconic and probably hung in every girl’s room as Holly Golightly. Her popular movies are famous: Breakfast at Tiffany’s, Sabrina and Roman Holiday. But what about Funny Face? I went on a Hepburn binge last summer because unfortunately I had never seen any of her films. While I thoroughly enjoyed Breakfast at Tiffany’s (that poor cat) and consider Roman Holiday as one of my favorites, I couldn’t believe that Funny Face had never been deemed as a classic.
The story follows a bookstore sales girl, Jo Stockton (played by Hepburn), that falls in love with a fashion photographer named Dick Avery. The publication is looking for the new face of their magazine and chooses her for her quick wit and because ultimately she doesn’t care about fashion. The anti-model. Avery whisks her away to Paris to make her a star, but Jo has other plans. A philosopher that she deeply admires resides in Paris and she is determined to meet him. How turn of the century. Through mishaps and love conquering all, Jo and Dick find what they are ultimately looking for: each other. Cue sobbing.
First, let me start off with the fact that this movie is a quasi-musical. I say quasi because though there is some song and dance, it does not dominate the film. Hepburn isn’t the best singer, but I find that it makes for an honest performance because she is vulnerable. The songs are campy but ultimately propel the film and make you admire the work of the actors.
Hepburn is not the only superstar in this movie. Dick Avery, the love interest of Hepburn, is played by Fred Astaire. An exceptionally charming man that danced his way into our hearts in countless other films. He is just so damn charismatic that he could sing and dance about farts and I would still watch it. Astaire is the perfect match for Hepburn because they are so subtle in their acting styles that they can portray love in a real way. It isn’t melodramatic or overdone.
Thirdly, Paris fashion in in 50’s and 60’s is to die for. The film is about a fashion magazine, so they take every chance to put Hepburn in gorgeous clothing. There is a photo shoot montage that would put any best-friend shopping montage to shame. SHAME. Not only was this filmed in an amazing time for fashion but it was set in an amazing place for fashion. Double-whammy. Hepburn wears every piece of clothing in this film so well, but we still get to see her classic all-black ensemble during my favorite scene.
Which leads me to my fourth point. There is a scene in this film that solely focuses on Hepburn doing an interpretive dance in a seedy Parisian night-club. FOR FIVE MINUTES. There is no dialogue, no real reason in the plot as to why she dances, but she does. It is the weirdest part of the film, but it emphasizes that Hepburn does not care. She is lashing out, moving around and throwing her limbs crazily. If you don’t watch the film, which I can’t see why you wouldn’t at this point, at least watch this scene.
This film is one that I go to when I’m sad or bummed because it’s just a delight to watch. It doesn’t take itself too seriously and is reminiscent of a simpler time in film. Hepburn and Astaire don’t need special effects and explosions, they are simply divine the way they are. If all of these reasons haven’t convinced you to give Funny Face a chance then go watch Transformers, you barbarian.
Alaina Boukedes is a graduate of the University of Alabama in the Class of 2016 from Madison, AL. She will be attending graduate school at Northwestern University.
Originally published at eepurl.com.