It’s New York in the 1940s, where the martinis flow from cocktail hour till breakfast at Tiffany’s. And nice girls don’t, except, of course, Holly Golightly. Pursued by Mafia gangsters and playboy millionaires, Holly is a fragile eyeful of tawny hair and turned-up nose, a heartbreaker, a perplexer, a traveller, a tease. She is irrepressibly ‘top banana in the shock department’, and one of the shining flowers of American fiction.
It was always my understanding that Breakfast at Tiffany’s was a huge classic that everyone absolutely lost their shit over whenever it was mentioned.
The daily Telegraph called this story “One of the twentieth century’s most gorgeously romantic fictions”.
For these reasons and the fact that I should really see what all the fuss is about, I decided to finally read this acclaimed best seller (to other people that is) and then watch what I have been told is ‘the best movie ever’ and Truman Capote’s best ever work.
Unfortunately, I was quite disappointed with what I read and what I then watched afterwards. Maybe it was all the hype over the years from hearing so many positive things, that when I finally watched it, I was let down as I was expecting a lot more than what I got.
Let me start with the novel.
I was a few pages in when I started to question whether I was in fact reading Breakfast at Tiffany’s or if it was a completely different story but with the right cover on it because I was completely lost. I didn’t know what was going on and I didn’t know who was talking to who and what they were even talking about when they were even talking to someone because a lot of it was just Paul’s recollection of events, so when dialogue came along it got quite confusing to keep up.
I did get a bit more understanding of the story toward the middle because it basically became about Paul & Holly only and Holly’s past that had led her to this point, but when other people were thrown into the mix, Capote lost me once again because some weren’t mentioned enough to remember them.
The main disappointment for me was the fact that the Tiffany store (what the book is named after) was hardly even mentioned at all. Holly speaks of it once, lucky twice, and only when she is describing to Paul how the store makes her feel:
“What I’ve found does the most good is just to get into a taxi and go to Tiffany’s. It calms me down right away, the quietness and the proud look of it; nothing very bad could happen to you there, not with those kind men in their nice suits, and that lovely smell of silver and alligator wallets. If I could find a real-life place that made me feel like Tiffany’s, then I’d buy some furniture and give the cat a name”.
It was always my understanding (judging solely by the name) that there was maybe a café or something within a Tiffany’s store that Holly would go to for breakfast occasionally. But that is not the case at all. Holly never even went to the store throughout the whole book; so it makes me question: why is this book called Breakfast at Tiffany’s if nobody even goes there for breakfast?
Moving onto the movie.
Wow- the opening scene showed Holly standing outside a Tiffany’s shop eating her ‘breakfast’ while looking at the jewellery in the window. That is so not how I imagined this movie would be throughout all these years. It was quite disappointing.
The movie did at least show Tiffany’s a lot more than the book had mentioned it. There was a whole scene in the movie. Still not how I had imagined it would be like, but it was there nonetheless.
The movie kept quite closely to the book, which was good-except of course the ending, which was changed completely to make it a ‘romantic story’, aka a happily ever after ending where the guy gets the girl (that’s my guess anyway) – the Daily Telegraph wouldn’t have given it the review they gave if the ending had been the same as the book because there was nothing romantic about the book. Paul never even told Holly that he had feelings for her in the book. They were always just friends. Paul never had his ‘girlfriend’ in the book either, like he does in the movie so not sure why they felt they needed to add her character to it.
I found all the characters spoke very fast and said “darling” way too much. They really needed to slow the dialogue down a bit. But the book was the same. The sentences never ended, they just had comma’s between every breath.
I can see the fascination with Audrey Hepburn and why this movie made her a household name. She portrayed Holly Golightly wonderfully. She really suited the character, as did George Peppard who played Paul Varjak.
Given the fact that so many people love this movie and speak endlessly about it, makes me feel ripped off because I was really hoping to feel the same way at least after watching it. The novel doesn’t matter that much because when people mention this story, they are always talking about the movie, not the book. But I unfortunately didn’t understand the fascination – I really wish I did. Maybe after a few more viewings of it, it might grow on me more and I will hopefully grow to love it. Or then again, maybe it’s simply one of those classic movies that you have to grow up watching in order to love it, like Grease.
I am glad however, that I have finally got around to seeing it.