In my quest to watch all things Audrey Hepburn, I have moved onto Sabrina, another widely known classic. A big fan of Breakfast at Tiffany’s and Roman Holiday, I went into Sabrina, a rather silly romantic comedy, with high expectations… and unfortunately, Sabrina didn’t quite meet them.
Sabrina is still a good movie, and how could it not be starring Humphrey Bogart, Audrey Hepburn and William Holden. Bogart and Holden play two rich brothers who, for most of their life, have all but ignored the existence of young Sabrina Fairchild (Hepburn), the daughter of their family’s chauffeur. Bogart is all work and Holden all play, but both find a commonality when Sabrina returns from Paris suddenly all grown up and sophisticated – and gorgeous – and realize that they are both head over heels in love with her. Family tension and crazy antics ensue as the two brothers fight to win her love.
Sabrina is a breezy, entertaining film with some funny moments and a story not unlike those found today. Then again, compared to some of Hepburn’s other classics, this one feels much more dated. In this day and age, it’s hard to see a movie getting away with a plot where two brothers are pining for the love of the same woman, and the most conflict that comes out of it is a single punch to the face and, in response, a “I deserved that” line. Then again, Sabrina is the ultimate tease, a beautiful woman who knowingly plays to the emotions of two brothers. It works in the simple sense, but these are the plot structures of yesteryear.
Then again, should I fault a movie made in 1954 for being reminiscent of movies of those times? No, but the movie still isn’t as strong in the comedic or romantic departments. I never felt much chemistry between Hepburn and either of the two men; even though Holden was handsome, having known that he was a playboy and womanizer, what would she find appealing about him? When she’s around him, she just comes off as so naive and stupid, and thus their relationship isn’t very interesting at all. The relationship between Bogart and Hepburn also seems a tad forced, and while it is clear Bogart is love with Hepburn, I never got even the slightest suggestion that Hepburn felt the same way about him.
Beyond the clunky chemistry, the movie isn’t as funny as Hepburn’s other greats, though it certainly has the premise for it. There are some goofy moments, but there are some antiquated moments as well.
Nevertheless, Sabrina is still a quality picture worthy of viewing, even among younger audiences. I feel like I’m getting repetitive, but those who are fans of romantic comedies should really check out these old school Audrey Hepburn movies, as they are what most modern films of the same genre are based on.
Sabrina is now available on DVD in an all-new Centennial Edition DVD set.