What About Breakfast at Tiffany’s?

English: Cropped screenshot of Audrey Hepburn ...

I watched Breakfast at Tiffany’s recently. Finally. After years of telling myself I should watch it as a film student, getting told I should watch it, and putting it on various lists of movies I had every intention of seeing, but never made time for, I watched it.

I wanted to love it. I wanted to agree with the people who put it on “best” and “most” lists, particularly since I so seldom do. Also, I’d been told that I’m something like Holly Golightly, and having had no idea what that meant besides a black-and-white image of a woman in a tiara and white gloves smoking a cigarette, I imagined they were suggesting I had similarities to Cruella DeVille. I can buy that: I’m not the biggest fan of puppies and I have been known to fly into a fit of rage when things don’t go my way. And I look great in red. But I did want to figure out what those friends of mine were really trying to say.

English: Cropped screenshot of Audrey Hepburn ...

Within the first ten minutes, I could see some of the similarities my friends were talking about. Spartan apartment, check; skillfully evading someone who professes undying love, check; losing keys frequently, check; coming in at ridiculous hours of day and night, check; going places for no particular reason other than never having been there before, double check. Maybe these friends of mine weren’t so crazy after all.

By the time twenty minutes had passed, a pinched frown had replaced my chuckles. The leading man had arrived on the scene, and Holly had explained as simply and undramatically as I imagine it’s possible to do in that Hollywood starlet voice that once she found somewhere as wonderful as Tiffany’s, she’d buy some furniture and name the cat.

By then, I knew where it was going. Holly would eventually discover, against all odds, that the place as wonderful as Tiffany’s was right in front of her, in the arms of her new friend and neighbour, and they’d all live happily ever after.

If people really do think I’m similar to Holly Golightly, suddenly a lot of the things I’ve spent a lot of time and energy puzzling out, then explaining and defending, make a lot more sense. People’s puzzlement when I say that no, the way I currently live my life probably isn’t temporary, and no, it’s not because I can’t get a job in my home country (though lately that has some truth to it) and most importantly, no, it isn’t a way of killing time or occupying myself until I can catch a man, or come to think of it, a way of catching a man.

For Holly, the spartan apartment, the nameless cat, and the company of a string of rats, as she puts it, is a means to an end. She’s waiting for the wonderful place to find her, so that she can finally put down roots and be “normal”. Fortunately for her, she finds what she was after all along, even if it does take some shouting for her to realize it.

For me, the spartan apartment is a function of moving often, and not wanting to have to pack or get rid of too much during the next move. I don’t have a cat for the same reason, and the company of a number of people (some of whom, admittedly, resemble rats and super rats) is one of the draws of going new places.

All in all, I did like the movie. It was sweet and funny, and at times far less upsetting in terms of rom-com format than many more recent movies I’ve watched. And as long as settling down is such a dream for so many people, there are going to be movies that revolve around that sort of storyline.

Maybe I just need to write one about a main character who never names the cat, never belongs to anyone, and lives happily ever after.


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