DoctorEmmet

A cautious bachelor takes advice from Breakfast At Tiffany's

11 posts in this topic

I recently found Breakfast at Tiffanys at streaming, watched it again and decided to write about it in my blog. The film seems to be cliched and tied to a female audience. I wrote a little piece from a 'guy' point of view.  Please check it out and comment.  Cheers !

 

fun.sytes.net/movie-quest

 

 

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This sounds like it could be an interesting discussion, so why not have it here instead of luring us off-site? Links posted on this site aren't active anyway. (Cuts down on the trolling.) If you're serious about getting comments maybe recap the main points of your blog and we can all take it from there? As I said, it sounds interesting. 

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2 hours ago, DougieB said:

This sounds like it could be an interesting discussion, so why not have it here instead of luring us off-site? Links posted on this site aren't active anyway. (Cuts down on the trolling.) If you're serious about getting comments maybe recap the main points of your blog and we can all take it from there? As I said, it sounds interesting. 

I agree.   I don't like going to external links.   While I really enjoy the film and 'fall for' the ending,  it doesn't stand up upon reflection.     I just don't see Holly changing enough to be a one-man women,  getting a job,  live an everyday life (lot less partying,  going out to fancy places,  living the high life etc...).     Now Fred (ok I know that isn't his real name, ha ha),  I can see him being content with his life as a writer because that is what he was.   Yea, he was living high on the hog but that was fairly temporary.   He had talent and he will be A-OK going back to the life he had before.     Yea,  Holly would have a better life with Fred than the one she grew up with, but that was so long ago and her life in NYC was so much different

 

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1 hour ago, jamesjazzguitar said:

I agree.   I don't like going to external links.   While I really enjoy the film and 'fall for' the ending,  it doesn't stand up upon reflection.     I just don't see Holly changing enough to be a one-man women,  getting a job,  live an everyday life (lot less partying,  going out to fancy places,  living the high life etc...).     Now Fred (ok I know that isn't his real name, ha ha),  I can see him being content with his life as a writer because that is what he was.   Yea, he was living high on the hog but that was fairly temporary.   He had talent and he will be A-OK going back to the life he had before.     Yea,  Holly would have a better life with Fred than the one she grew up with, but that was so long ago and her life in NYC was so much different

 

Part of the "subtext" (if a movie can be said to have subtext) is that they have both essentially been w horing for money, Fred with the Patricia Neal character and Holly with Sally Tomato and every guy she hit up for powder room money. They both find themselves at the end having to get real in the exact same way or face a very bleak future. They've both gotten into the habit of seeing the opposite sex as being "useful" financially and their growing fascination with each other on a different level calls all of that into question. The idea that they could help each other isn't really far-fetched when you consider the kind of reform each of them needs to make. As to whether or not Holly could really make the switch, you could be right that it's too big an ask. I always felt that her fierce independent streak had an underlying needy desperation to it, that a lot of it was bluster meant to shield a weakened will which she couldn't let herself expose to the world. It would be a lot to let go of all at once. It's pretty obvious that Fred has a great story in recent events which could help crack his writer's block and bring him back into the fold as a writer, but it's not as clear what Holly's path would be, given her stubborn nature. 

I hope the OP comes back into the conversation because I'd like to hear what advice he's taken from the movie.

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Dougie:  So right about Holly's independent streak as a defensive mechanism.  This was illustrated in a funny way by the fact she named her cat,  'cat'.   Such a name for a pet allows one to discard the creature because it isn't really a pet but just another cat,  thus retaining their independence from attachments.     If in a sequel Holly changes the cat's name to something less generic,  I would have more faith in her making a true turnaround as it relates to accepting that love means being vulnerable. 

 

 

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Hey everyone, i put a link because my posting is quite long for a message board. It is more like a small film essay but casual as a blog and open for conversation.The post also has the purpose of attracting interest the film. Most millenials i know have an aversion to these words put together: "classic romantic film from the 60's". So in the blog i try to give the film a fresh look.

But in this discussion  board everyone knows the film  so i will put the piece related to the discussion bellow,  and if you want to read the whole piece in context, just point  your smartphone's browser to the URL  (it is more readable in phones).

Ok , on to the movie:

My discussion focuses on the date that Holly and Paul have in the middle of the film. Holly's behavior reminded me of some dates i had in the past : the subtleness of Holly's  behavior, her choice of places to go and her signals to Paul. If you noticed, the date apparently ended quite well for both, but then Paul has a hard time finding Holly afterwards. Holly's reaction to being found by Paul in the library reminded me of similar experiences. So i took that as a cautionary signal of female behavior.

So here is the fragment from the blog :

=============================

...

The film shows women vs. men’s perceptions of a perfect date. It’s all about appearances, girl needs, and the always uncomfortable topic of coin. To Men: a girl’s needs will never be revealed to you explicitly. A rough past is not pleasant, therefore it will not be shared easily. Men need to peel off the façade, observe her preferences while never forgetting: women are subtle.

And men are simple… after some days of frantic search, Paul finally finds Holly in the library. He is relieved and happy to see her again, he expects the same in return and approaches her. But her reaction is a cold one of upset, not even a smile hinted. “What are you doing here?” she utters with disdain and disappointment. Ouch! What happened here? Simpleton Paul did not read between the lines. He did not observe Holly’s subtle hints. She suggested a jewelry and a candy store as her favorites. He suggested a library. What an evening of fun was to Paul, to Holly it was revelatory.

Earlier in the movie drunk Holly mentions to Paul her desire to marry a rich man. But this is just booze talk right? Later on, when confronted by the high prices at Tiffany’s, Paul offered a symbolic engraved ring. She did not express disappointment, but did Paul really think she would settle for that? By now the economics of Holly are obvious. The subject of money is here. Paul is dating a poor, country girl who married at 14 and then changed her name. He missed all that, her grim past was well distracted away behind that gorgeous smile and the lavish, lamp dress.

...

Holly is, in her own words, “a wild thing”.I have met two “wild things” like Holly. They were real, beautiful women with a nasty surprise for me. I learned from such experience and I wished I had watched the adventures of Miss Golightly before. Oh well… such is dating life.

...

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has anyone had a date like that ? do yo think the date in the movie was far-fetched ? ( not counting the hollywood glitter of course)

fun.sytes.net/movie-quest

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That's a very thoughtful posting, DoctorEmmet. Many, but by no means all, of us are somewhat older than you, so it's nice to hear your take on a classic film, especially one which, as you say, many of your contemporaries are either unfamiliar with or uninterested in. My dating experiences are all in the rear view mirror, but I can certainly understand your fascination with one of the most mercurial female characters in classic film.

I'm not sure the women-are-subtle, men-are-simple dynamic covers all the bases; there's a lot that's simple about Holly and there's a lot which is subtle about Paul, as you yourself recognized. As a writer, Paul has made it his business not to be simple, though I guess the fact that his book has languished could mean his point of view isn't as well-honed and wide-ranging as he would like. Holly's defining characteristic outwardly is her forthrightness, her lack of subtlety, yet her insecurities (her "mean reds") belie all that when she's called upon to simply focus, as you've already detailed. 

But what you're asking about is the date and its aftermath. No, it didn't seem far-fetched to me. Urban environments offer those perfect opportunities to stray from routine and lose yourself in that kind of fantasy outing. It's when you return to routine that the problem can become more obvious, and that seems to be what happened in this case. They hadn't really liberated themselves or each other and Holly seemed particularly attuned to that fact, though her way of closing herself off was far from being the best way to express it. I think our tendency is to evaluate these situations in terms of who's right and who's wrong when perhaps misguided could be applied to both, without any particular blame being attached.

For some interesting background on the "date", you may be interested in checking out Truman Capote's story "A Beautiful Child" in his collection Music For Chameleons. It details an afternoon adventure he had with Marilyn Monroe in New York City after they met up at the funeral service of Constance Collier, an esteemed actress and drama coach. The episode had much of the free-wheeling quality of the "date" in Breakfast at Tiffany's and Capote always maintained that Marilyn would have been his first choice to play Holly Golightly. (Unfortunately, Marilyn had made herself relatively unemployable by then.)

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As an "old millennial," my take on Breakfast at Tiffany's has been this:

Holly and "Fred Baby" are basically the same type of person.  Both are w horing themselves out to others for their personal gain.  Holly married at 14 to a much older man and suddenly found herself "mom" to all these children when she was a child herself.  She lived in some rinky-dink town in Texas.  The only tie she maintains to her former life is keeping in contact with her brother Fred who is in the military.  I don't think it is ever mentioned what happened to Holly and Fred's parents.  I am going to speculate that they were either orphaned or abandoned. 

Holly leaves Texas for the bright lights of New York City because she wants more than what she had.  Of course, when she gets to New York, she is very young and presumably very low on funds.  She needs money and is in search of someone who can provide her with the life she wants.  She wants to have someone take care of her and wants to be financially comfortable.  Prostitution is the oldest occupation in the world and for good reason, there's always a supply to meet the demand.  Being an escort to wealthy, older men allows Holly access into a world that she'd never get into otherwise.  These men like having a trophy like Holly on their arm and Holly likes the money and access it provides her.  She's never interested in these men, she just wants to find one to marry.

Fred Baby on the other hand, is a writer, but is struggling to pay his bills.  He ends up becoming a kept man by getting involved with a wealthy woman, 2E. In exchange for housing, clothing and money, Fred Baby does "favors" for 2E.  They're obviously having some type of sexual affair as she is worried that her husband will find out. 

Both Holly and Fred Baby are benefiting by exchanging sex for money and other material items. 

When Holly and Fred Baby go out on their big date, I didn't think of it has being anything romantic--at least not starting as something romantic.  I took it as two friends, taking a break from maintaining their facades and having fun.  They take turns doing fun things that the other hasn't done before.  It's a time for Holly and Fred Baby to learn about what makes the other tick, what things they enjoy and learn about each other and slowly falling for one another. They have a genuinely fun day which leads to them sharing their first kiss and a rendezvous in Fred Baby's bedroom (this is alluded to with Holly and Fred Baby's masks being on the statues in Fred Baby's room).  

Later, when Holly seemingly disappears and Fred Baby discovers her at the library, I didn't take it as Fred Baby missing any subtle cues or what not.  I don't think Holly is subtle about anything.  I think it was more wishful thinking on Fred Baby's part.  I think Holly is just stubbornly hanging onto her goal of landing a rich man and Fred Baby is hoping that their kiss (and sex) was going to lead to a real relationship, because he knows that Holly's goals will hurt her in the end. He's trying to help her come out of her materialistic ways.

As for the ending, I think there is hope for Holly.  Earlier in the film, she states that she never gave Cat a name, because she didn't think it was right to declare herself his owner.  She doesn't think anyone can "own" anybody. By not giving Cat a name, she's trying to keep herself from becoming attached to something.  This is possibly a defense mechanism as Holly obviously lost her parents (in some manner, whether they died or disappeared) at a young age and later loses her brother which hurts her deeply.  By not allowing herself to become emotionally attached, she cannot feel that hurt again if something happens.

In the cab ride at the end, Fred Baby cannot believe that after everything Holly's been through trying to get money and material items, that she's still planning on leaving New York (a place she genuinely loves and feels like she belongs), for Brazil, even after the rich Brazilian guy she was planning on marrying dumps her.  Holly is so stubborn (and perhaps a bit delusional), that she's still going to fly to a different continent hoping to score this rich man.  Fred Baby chastises her for letting her superficial goals (like money and status) allow her to throw all the good things away in her life.  He knows she genuinely likes him and she genuinely loves her cat that she had just callously thrown out in the rain.  He puts an exclamation point on his speech by throwing the Cracker Jack ring (w/ the Tiffany's engraving) at her saying that "[he] doesn't want it anymore." Holly places the ring on her wedding finger and starts to cry.  A wedding ring is the ultimate symbol of someone "belonging" to someone else. Holly sees the ring on her finger and realizes that she loves Fred Baby and that they belong together... w/ their pet Cat.  She gets out of the cab and frantically searches for Cat, knowing that she, Fred Baby and Cat are meant to be together as a family.  

I think if the story were to continue, Holly, Cat and Fred Baby would move out of Mr. Yunioshi's apartment building and into another small place. Fred Baby would write a great novel--a fictionalized account of how he and Holly saved each other and lived happily ever after.  Holly would be content learning how to cook and knit and such.  She'd get to stay in the city she loves and she'd continue to eat breakfast in front of Tiffany's and do what most people do--window shop in the Tiffany's storefront windows, knowing that you'll most likely never buy anything in the store.  Maybe Fred Baby would buy Holly a gorgeous Tiffany's wedding ring with the first paycheck from his novel. 

I think that Fred Baby and Holly would be happy and content in their lives.

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This is always my favourite movie of Audrey Hepburn. However, I'm not sure what you mean by it ties to female audience because the angle of the movie is also about the young man who's struggling both in life and in love. I found this dedicated website for Hepburn and they wrote such a nice review, but again, I don't see their point of view is more feminine: http://www.fabaudrey.com/reviews/films/tiffanys-film/

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Aladdinni ,  read the article in your link. we seem to agree on the highlights of the film.

On my original post i focus on promoting the film to a male audience. It seems that the movie is cliched to a female, old fashioned public yet  i see it as a universal  cautionary tale that could benefit the millenial  single-and-looking audience. Go here and check the original post. It has three parts, i will post the other two here as well. I hope you like my little tribute to Audrey Hepburn.

(if you find it difficult to read the text, hit Ctrl+ or  better, use your phone, the page is more readable in smartphones)

fun.sytes.net/movie-quest

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