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Why I Think “Breakfast at Tiffany’s” is Worth Watching

The opinions expressed in this article are the writer’s own and do not reflect the views of Her Campus.
This article is written by a student writer from the Her Campus at Bradley U chapter.
*Potential Spoilers ahead*

This 1961 film changed my life the moment I saw it. “Breakfast at Tiffany’s” was directed by Blake Edwards and stars the iconic Audrey Hepburn and George Peppard. It takes place in New York City, and follows the life of Holly Golightly (Audrey Hepburn) as she navigates the changes to her world brought on by meeting Paul Varjak (George Peppard).

Holly Golightly has lived the majority of her life as a “free spirit.” She moved to New York City from somewhere in the south, abandoning her life back home. Holly is insistent on remaining a “free spirit,” and won’t let anyone take that away from her. She finds company with a nameless cat. As she explains it to Paul, “I’m like cat here, a no-name slob. We belong to nobody and nobody belongs to us. We don’t even belong to each other.” This quote not only explains the cat’s lack of a name, but it also perfectly sums up her feelings toward freedom. Holly frequently gets a case of “the mean reds.” She describes it as suddenly being afraid and not knowing what you’re afraid of. When she gets a case of “the mean reds,” she goes to Tiffany’s. It’s her escape from reality, she wants to find a real life place like Tiffany’s. That’s when she will finally feel like she belongs in this world.

Holly meets Paul Varjak one morning when he is moving into the apartment above hers. There’s an instant connection between them, but he’s got this “decorator friend” and she’s more into finding a superficial rich man, in order to maintain her independence. If you’ve never seen this film, my previous sentence probably raised some questions. Well, Paul’s decorator isn’t just a decorator, she’s really his secret lover. Holly on the other hand, doesn’t want to fall in love because that would mean part of her happiness was reliant on someone else. She does however, want companionship; therefore, she wants to find a rich man to marry and spend her time with, but she can still remain reliant on herself.

Throughout the movie, Paul and Holly spend more and more time together. Paul never hesitates to help her through any situation. Anytime she needs an escape from whatever has been troubling her, she just climbs up the fire escape to see Paul. The movie doesn’t specify how much time passes during the movie, but it feels like Paul spends an eternity trying to figure out what lies beneath her surface.

Holly and Paul decide to spend a whole day doing things they’ve never done before, each taking turns throughout the day. They do all kinds of random, wacky activities together. At the end of their day out, they finally share a kiss. This prompts both Holly and Paul to realize what they have together, and come face to face with the reality of their situation. It’s safe to say they both handle it in vastly different ways. On one hand, Paul cuts ties with his “decorator,” in order to devote his attention to Holly. Now, on the other hand, Holly refuses to address those hard to process emotions. After a few months, Holly invites Paul over for a farewell dinner, as she is leaving the next day for Brazil. She’s going with a rich man, whose family is very important in Brazil.

There’s this very passionate and authentic scene at the end of the movie. The two of them are riding in a cab, and Paul tells her he’s in love with her, and isn’t going to let her leave for Brazil. She tells him it’s a mistake to love a “wild thing” like her. He snaps back and tells her that in her pursuit of freedom, she’s built a cage for herself. She follows after him, and they share a deep and emotional kiss is the rain.

With everything I have covered, I have still only scratched the surface of what this movie entails. Overall, the plot could be pretty slow moving, if you compare it to a traditional plot line. The entire first half of the film is spent immersing the audience in Holly’s life. We see all the seemingly extravagant parts; however, when you look closer, you realize the extravagant parts are actually just heartbreaking. Although the first half doesn’t have a surface level connection to the plot, it helps you form a bond with the two of them. I will say, as much as it takes over half the film to bring the plot to the surface, it feels like it was just 20 minutes of background.

This film doesn’t follow the traditional path of movies made today. I feel it was an authentic portrayal of the human experience, and just how complex it is. While this was probably more extreme than what most people feel, it helps to dissect some of our deepest fears we are scared to confront. “Breakfast at Tiffany’s” is the perfect example of the fact that growth isn’t linear. I highly recommend this film to anyone looking for an older, lesser known film. Especially if you like old-time, Hollywood-style films.

Josie Smith

Bradley U '25

I'm a junior, journalism major at Bradley University! I love serving as this chapter's editor-in-chief.