I really liked the four female leads. Instead of being limited to the standard narrative of love, marriage, and motherhood, they are fully drawn as full human beings. I also liked the immigrant narrative and the fear of immigration. Though it is set decades ago, the themes and narratives are true today as they were then.
After Samuel is killed in World War I, the dynamic between Tristan and Alfred changes. They both fall in love with Susannah (Julia Ormond), Henry’s fiance. As they compete for her heart and their future, their formerly tight bond starts to fray.
Nearly 30 years on, it has become a modern classic. It is beautifully shot and tells the story of an ordinary family living through extraordinary times. While I appreciate the humanity of the Native American characters (who in the past have only been shown as 2D stereotypes), I dislike the portrayal of Susannah.
As usual, her sole role is that of the love interest and the reason for the division of the male characters. She does not have any agency or any other reason for existing within this narrative. Which is a shame, because Ormond has proven herself as a capable actress.
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.