Sabrina (Audrey Hepburn) is a shy chauffer’s daughter who has grown up watching the family her father works for from afar and falling in love with David (William Holden) the family’s playboy youngest son. She is encouraged to attend culinary school in Paris, where her father hopes she will get over her unrealistic crush. While Sabrina returns a refined young woman, she is more determined than ever to win over David, even though his wedding is only days away. The family enlists his older brother, the work-driven Linus (Humphrey Bogart), to keep Sabrina away from David, as a broken engagement could spoil an important deal for the family business. Unexpectantly, Sabrina and Linus fall for one another and Sabrina must choose between the two brothers.
Because I am brunette lady who likes old movies, everyone assumes I must love Audrey Hepburn. This has led me being gifted a lot of Audrey Hepburn related stuff, which has led to even more people assuming I love her and therefore giving me more memorabilia. To tell the truth, I think she’s ok. She was very beautiful, but her work and life has never captivated me like Marilyn Monroe or that other Hepburn, the great Miss Kate. I think my issue with her lies in the roles she chose. Her most famous character, Holly Golightly, is a step above a prostitute and she frequently starred opposite male leads who were old enough to be her father. Her turn as the titular Sabrina was also hard for me to get invested in because I couldn’t see what she saw in David in the first place and found her determination to win him over, despite his pending marriage a bit distasteful.
Sabrina also goes into my list of classic films that have surprisingly dark elements to them. We tend to think that films of this era were happier, less cynical, but it’s surprising how often suicide pops up in them. Think about it: Jimmy Stewart is totally going to kill himself in It’s A Wonderful Life. In The Apartment, both Shirley MacLaine and Jack Lemmon have brushes with suicidal tendencies. And in Sabrina Hepburn and Bogart share thwarted attempts to take their lives and love gone wrong. It’s kind of amazing anyone makes it out alive in these movies. There is also the running theme of women being used in business dealings. David’s fiancé seems very sweet but she is nothing more to David than a way to keep the family off his back. His instantaneous infatuation for Sabrina (while he didn’t even recognize her after knowing her, her entire life) makes you question how much time would pass before he strayed from her as well. Also, Linus initial courting is an act of a manipulation to ensure business goes the way he wants, though he does seem to be taken by her. So at best, he uses his place in the family to steal his brother’s new toy away.
While the film is a classic and stars some Hollywood’s biggest powerhouses, I found it a bit too seedy for my liking. And they made Mr. Cool himself, Humphrey Bogart, look like a fool in a college outfit thirty years too young for him. For shame, movie, for shame!