Film Flick Friday: Sabrina

Friday, August 24, 2012

That name? Why Sabrina, of course. The classic film tells a love story between the social classes, when the chauffeur's daughter catches the eye of the second son of the powerful Larabee family. Romantics will remember this story fondly, and I will agree it is charming, as only Hepburn can be. Its a film I love, but- I am going to be voicing an unpopular opinion here. This film is far from perfect, even given the time it was made in.

My major objection to this movie is how it presents love. Or, to be more accurate, a few messages it sent about how to behave when obtaining love. Several points in the plot shocked me and my feminist ways. The film starts with Hepburn's Sabrina attempting suicicide, complete with a teen-angst filled note to her father. Only Bogart's arrival saves her. It is played with a light humor, but does not endear her character to us. Another  plot-point is when Bogart's character, Linus Larabee, makes up a lie about almost killing himself after being spurned by a lover. Uncomfortable messages once again flit about. Yet another objectionable bit, is that Sabrina declares she doesn't care that the second son, her original love interest, is engaged. "He's not married yet," she explains. Married men are off the market, but anything up to that point is fair game. And, Sabrina's character essentially succeeds in luring the second son away. David stays with his fiancee because he figures out Sabrina is in love with Linus...not due to any sense of honor he posesses, or because of the girl he's engaged to has done anything, or even because of his interest in the family business. He easily drops one girl and just as easily picks her back up. And the kicker here, is that we are suppose to like David, even if he is an ass...

Likewise, the age difference between Bogart and Hepburn is large. To be fair, it is a major plot point that what we see is a May-December relationship. In both other movies and in his private life, Bogart had romantic relationships with much younger ladies, but it is a little bizarre here....

All this said, however, I  still enjoy Sabrina. The charm so overhelms the senses that you do take the story for modern fairytale complete with fairytale logic and these other parts fade into the background. La Vie En Rose plays in the background, giving way only for such songs as Isn't It Romantic?  Charming French men mentor, and the servants are all in a titter. Whether in shorts or designer clothing  Hepburn seems at her most beguiling here with a delightful accent trilling off her tongue. It all makes one want to watch. Additionally, there are underrated comedic moments that pop up every so often to pay off the audience for their attention. And really, seeing two of Hollywood's most enduring names together is also a delight, which is ironic considering on-set, Bogart actually disliked both Hepburn and Holden, who played the part of the second son, David. Bogart wanted his young wife, Lauren Bacall, who had starred opposite him in several films, to play the role of Sabrina (and what a different film that would have been!). Meanwhile, in real life, Hepburn and Holden had a relationship that developed during this movie. Yet, the audience truly buys the relationship between Sabrina and Linus as the truer one when compared to that of Sabrina and Davi'ds (even with the age differences too!). Now that's acting.


  1. Sabrina is my favorite Audrey Hepburn movie and one of my favorite movies of all time! Ever since I learned about Bogie wanting Bacall to play Sabrina, it makes me giggle every time I watch it. I do definitely agree that the relationship between Bogie and Hepburn is a little hard to buy (I struggled with that the first time I saw it), but I still love it nonetheless. Wonderful review again!

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  2. Sabrina is a charming movie, but I agree with the points you raise. Got to love the clothes though!

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  3. Kristian dear thanks a lot for your visit and kind comment on my blog!! Would you like to follow each other??
    BTW even if I agree with you in some points, I still believe Sabrina is one of the best films of Audrey Hepburn...

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    1. Even with its flaws I agree- it is one of my favorite Hepburn films (I actually like the plot of How to Steal a Million and love its zaniness, but Sabrina has more charm.)

  4. I've never seen this movie! I am so in love with movies of that decade so I must watch it - thanks for sharing :)


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