Audrey (2020) Review

When dealing with childhood trauma as an adult, there are generally two paths to take. The first is that of possible mental illness, addiction, and life long emotional scars that never heal. The second is that of forgiveness, being open, and putting the past behind you.

I watched the new Netflix documentary, Audrey (2020) last night. It is an intimate vision of Audrey Hepburn, one of the most iconic performers from Old Hollywood. Using archival footage, interviews, and clips from her work, the film opens the door to an image of the icon that goes beyond the glitz and glamour. The movie documents her difficult childhood during World War II, her turn as one of the most famous performers in the world, and then her later years, highlighting the charity work she did in the late 1980’s and early 1990’s.

I loved this movie. It goes beyond the typical Hollywood documentary. I felt like I was introduced to the real woman, not the actress whose profile was specifically created by the studio system. As a fan, it made appreciate her more, both as a performer and a human being.

Do I recommend it? Absolutely.

Audrey is available for streaming on Netflix.


Best Books of 2019

To say that I am a bookworm is an understatement. As you might expect, I’ve read quite a few books this year.

Without further adieu, my list of the best books of 2019 is below.

  1. The Women of the 116th Congress: Portraits of Power: This book is #1 because it represents how far American women have come and how far we need to go before we are truly equal. In celebrating the success of these female politicians, the authors are paving the way for the next generation of women to represent their country.
  2. The Unwanted: America, Auschwitz, and a Village Caught In Between: This compelling and true story of one small town and it’s Jewish residents during World War II is as compelling as any fiction novel of the Holocaust.
  3. Dutch Girl: Audrey Hepburn and World War II: Telling the story of Audrey Hepburn‘s childhood during World War II, this book is a must-read for both movie junkies and history nerds alike.
  4. Summer of ’69: History is not just facts in a book. It the lives and experiences of those who lived through that period. In telling the story of one specific family, the summer of 1969 comes alive.
  5. Catch and Kill: Lies, Spies, and a Conspiracy to Protect Predators: The revelation of Harvey Weinstein’s actions two years ago was appalling and world-changing. In bringing his actions to the light, the authors are giving his victims what should have been theirs in the first place.
  6. Unmarriageable: A Novel: This adaptation of Pride & Prejudice set in Pakistan proves why Austen’s novels are universally loved and rebooted time and again.
  7. The Mother of the Brontes: When Maria met Patrick: The previously untold story of Maria Bronte (nee Branwell) is a fascinating story of the women who would bring Charlotte, Emily and Anne Bronte into the world.
  8. Becoming Eve: My Journey from Ultra-Orthodox Rabbi to Transgender Woman: It takes guts to be yourself. It takes even more guts when being yourself means that you are no longer part of the community you grew up in.
  9. She Said: Breaking the Sexual Harassment Story That Helped Ignite a Movement: The reporters who broke the Harvey Weinstein scandal knew what they were up against. They also knew how important it was for the public to know the truth.
  10. The Winemaker’s Wife: Love and betrayal are enough to handle. Add in war and you have this marvelous novel set in France during World War II.

Dutch Girl: Audrey Hepburn and World War II Book Review

When it comes to Hollywood personalities, there are sometimes two people: the real person and the image crafted to sell tickets.

Audrey Hepburn is one of the most recognized and revered celebrities of Hollywood’s golden age. Movies such as Sabrina, Breakfast at Tiffany’s and My Fair Lady have endeared her to generations of film fans.

The new biography, Dutch Girl: Audrey Hepburn and World War II, by Robert Matzen, tells the story of a portion of the late Ms. Hepburn’s life that is sometimes overlooked: her childhood during World War II. She was born in 1929 to a British father and an aristocratic Dutch mother. Her parents divorced when she was young. Her father left the family soon after and Audrey was raised by her mother.

When she was a pre-teen, World War II started. The Dutch believed that because their country was neutral during World War I, nothing would change. Little did they know how history would forever change their country and affect the future film icon that is Audrey Hepburn.

I loved this book. I was aware previously that Ms. Hepburn was a child during World War II, but I had no idea of how much the war would have a life long affect on her.

I absolutely recommend it.

Throwback Thursday-Roman Holiday (1953)

As glamorous being a member of a royal family can seem like, it can also feel constricting.

In the 1953 film, Roman Holiday, Princess Ann (Audrey Hepburn) is a Princess on a tour of Europe. Her current stop is in Rome. She yearns to for an opportunity to be normal for once. Pretending to be sick, she sneaks away from her royal chaperones. Joe Bradley (Gregory Peck) is an American journalist who gives Ann the opportunity to be normal, while using their time together to get the ultimate scoop. They fall in love, but can they be together?

If there was a list of definitive and timeless romantic comedies, Roman Holiday would be high up on the list. Not only was it Audrey Hepburn’s film debut, but it is funny, charming and romantic without falling into the easy cliches of the genre.

I absolutely recommend it.

Throwback Thursday-The Audrey Hepburn Story (2000)

There are few old Hollywood performers as memorable as Audrey Hepburn. Remembered for her iconic roles in Breakfast At Tiffany’s (1961), Roman Holiday (1953) and her humanitarian work, Ms. Hepburn will always forever be remembered for heart and her trend setting fashion.

In 2000, Jennifer Love Hewitt starred in the TV movie/biopic, The Audrey Hepburn Story. As a girl, a young Audrey Hepburn (Emmy Rossum) wanted to be a ballet dancer. But her parent’s divorce and World War II changed all that. The movie then follows her career as she becomes a movie star and has to juggle work, fame and relationships.

As biopics go, this TV movie is not bad. But it’s not good either. While Jennifer Love Hewitt is not the best actress, she certainly gives it her all. I just wonder what could have been done differently to make this program more palatable.

Do I recommend it? Sort of.


Happy Birthday Audrey Hepburn

Today is the birthday of Audrey Hepburn.

In a world of Elizabeth Taylor’s and Marilyn Monroe’s, Audrey Hepburn was a breath of fresh air.

She was and still is a fashion icon to many, is still one of the best performers of her era and a philanthropist.  Growing up Europe during World War II, she understood how important it was for every child to have three solid meals a day.

One of my favorite Audrey Hepburn movies is Sabrina (1954).

Sabrina Fairchild (Audrey Hepburn) is the mousey, tomboy daughter of the chauffeur for the wealthy Larrabee family. Unknown to the younger son, playboy David (William Holden), Sabrina has a crush on him. After a stint in Paris, Sabrina returns home looking and acting very differently.  David is immediately taken with Sabrina, but he is engaged. He could break his engagement, but that would ruin a business merger that could change the fate of the family company.

Enter Linus (Humphrey Bogart), David’s logical, levelheaded bachelor older brother. Linus is brought into the equation to ensure that David’s engagement is not broken. He expects to convince Sabrina that there are other men in the world, but, things don’t go as planned.

A classic romantic comedy that is funny, heartwarming and thoroughly entertaining, it never fails to put a smile on my face.

Happy Birthday Audrey.

Throwback Thursday-Breakfast at Tiffany’s (1961)

It is a truth universally acknowledged that a mysterious member of the opposite sex (or the same-sex if you are gay) will always hold a certain amount of appeal.

In the classic film Breakfast at Tiffany’s (1961), writer Paul Varjak (George Peppard) has moved into an apartment building in New York City. He is intrigued by his neighbor, Holly Golightly (Audrey Hepburn), whose seems to be two different people. She is social, sophisticated and sexy when hosting or attending parties, but when they are alone, she reveals, a sweeter, slightly neurotic side to herself.

Based on a book by Truman Capote, this movie is a classic in every sense of the word. It is an uncomplicated, compelling tale which in both book and film format, has lasted many years. And it also helps that Audrey Hepburn’s wardrobe in the film is iconic and is still replicated today. My only complaint is that the lone Asian character, as played by Mickey Rooney is a stereotype that is too easy to laugh at.

I recommend it.

Class Vs. Classless

When Gabi Finlayson went on vacation to Paris with her family in December, she could have bought a trinket that might have become a dust collector on her shelf. Instead, she bought something that she hoped she would remember for the rest of her days: a formal dress that she planned to wear to her school dance.  Like most teenagers, Miss Finlayson hoped that the dress, in future years would trigger fond memories of a rite of passage that many young people go through. Instead the night ended in tears.

One of the adults chaperoning the dance asked her to cover her shoulders,  forever changing what could have been a fun night out into a humiliating and unhappy evening.

This dress is beautiful. Whomever designed the dress had Grace Kelly and Audrey Hepburn in the back of their minds. It is simple, elegant and age appropriate. She covers more skin than she actually shows. And yet this adult forced her to cover her shoulders.

I understand that the school district has certain requirements for the students to be able to attend the dance. But why, once again does the dress code only pertain to girls? Why is it that girls and women are responsible for the “impure thoughts” of boys and men?

Miss Finlayson has class. The adult who forced her to needlessly cover up and ruin her evening? Classless.


Flashback Friday- Sabrina (1954 and 1995)

Audrey Hepburn is an icon. Her movies, her perfect fashion sense, have lived on 21 years after her passing.

One of her earliest movies, Sabrina, happens to be one my favorite classic Hollywood movies and the subject of this Flashback Friday post.

Sabrina Fairchild (Audrey Hepburn) is the daughter of the Larabee family chauffeur. She is mousy, quiet and watching from the sidelines. She has a crush on David (William Holden), the younger Larabee  son who does not know that she exists.  After receiving an opportunity to live in Paris, Sabrina returns home, fashionable and elegant.

David quickly takes notice of her. But the problem is that David is engaged and breaking his engagement could potentially ruin a business deal with his future father in law.  David’s older brother Linus (Humphrey Bogart) starts to spend time with Sabrina to try to sway her attention away from his brother. But Linus will soon find that he too is falling for her.

This movie is classic Hollywood at it’s best. Despite the age different between Hepburn and Bogart, their chemistry is perfect. What I love about this movie is the Cinderella-esque journey that happens to Sabrina. Her transformation from a gawky, unsure young girl to an elegant woman who thinks that she has finally gained the attention and affection of the man who she has secretly loved is magical.

In  1995, a lackluster remake of Sabrina premiered. Taking over from Hepburn, Holden and Bogart was Julia Ormond, Greg Kinnear and Harrison Ford. While the movie tries to be what was then a modern update, there is something not quite right about.

I recommend first the 1954 original movie. And then if you like that movie, try the 1995 remake.

Happy Birthday, Audrey Hepburn

Today is Audrey Hepburn‘s Birthday. If cancer had not taken her from us in 1993, she would have been 85 today. As a performer and a humanitarian, she will always been remembered not only for her immortal on screen performances, but for her humanitarian work.  Hepburn was a child during World War II and remembered vividly the experiences during the war. In her later years, she worked with Unicef on behalf of children who suffered the same malnutrition and hunger she she suffered.

My favorite Audrey Hepburn film is Sabrina. Co-starring William Holden (David Larabee) and Humphrey Bogart (Linus Larabee), Hepburn plays the title role. Sabrina Fairchild is the awkward, ungainly chauffeur’s daughter who has a crush on David.   She has the opportunity to live in Paris and when she returns home, is elegant and fashionable. Despite the fact that David is engaged, he still pursues her. His older brother, Linus starts to pursue Sabrina. His reasons are more related to the family business, if his brother should break the engagement, they would loose a very important business deal with David’s soon to be father in law. I won’t give the rest of the movie away if you haven’t seen it, but I recommend that you see it if you haven’t.

Hepburn is a fashion icon. In Breakfast At Tiffany’s she wore a Little Black Dress. Every woman since then has had at least one in her closet.  In an era when many of her female colleagues were curvy, Hepburn’s boyish frame stood out.

Wherever you are, Audrey, I raise my glass to you. RIP.

%d bloggers like this: