When I first watched this movie, I had a hard time understanding why Breakfast at Tiffany’s is such a masterpiece. I struggled with feeling frustrated for and by Holly and her actions, and constantly the film demonstrated the woman making poor decisions. As the credits rolled, I realized that this angst was exactly the point of the film, and the emotion was why it’s considered a classic.
For a movie made in 1961, I was very impressed with Holly Golightly’s portrayal. She doesn’t shy away from going for who or what she wants. The men she courts are merely sources of cash, and her independence from these men, despite this dependence, is shown to be her choice alone. Her activities never negatively show her promiscuity, or lack thereof. It’s interesting to see how the film lets the viewer decide who she is, based on the kind of person the viewer is. Her flaws and motivations all point to a lighthearted, fearful character, which Paul Verjak ultimately uncovers.
Holly’s true nature is revealed very early on when she first breaks into Paul’s room. She finds something similar in him, when she sees he also uses his body for money. She tiptoes around her fears surrounding her brother, why she does what she does, and how her innocence also accompanies a little immaturity. She has the means to accomplish her goal of being able to provide for her brother, but she lacks the conviction. Her fascination with the big, small and shiny things in life distracts her from what she believes is most important.
Holly is an incredibly interesting character because her flaws are as subtle as flaws are in real life. The things she fears are the same things the rest of us fear. Her using her body and her charm to accomplish what she wants can show her as a positive role model or a negative one, and the choice is entirely left to the viewer.
This is a charming film with many layers to Holly and Paul, each playing off the other to learn and grow in a way characters in most films don’t. 8/10.