cinema

The Best and Worst Disney Princess Role Models

I have now seen the latest Cinderella film and have admit that I was a little bit hesitant of watching it. While I like the original, I think Cinderella is one of the more annoying of the Disney princesses. She doesn’t really have that much about her and seems to just cry and languish, while letting others deal with everything. That might have been ok in the fifties, but for more modern-day audiences, she just doesn’t have that much too her.

And don’t even get me started on her prince! He spends the night dancing with her and then apparently doesn’t remember what she looks like the next day. She was blonde – at least go with that for a start!

Thankfully the newest Cinderella manages to iron out the kinks from the animation. They give Ella more depth while still retaining the underlying fact that it is her kindness and hope that sees her through. And it’s a nice touch that she and the prince can have a conversation before the ball, making their relationship seem more believable and they initially begin to fall in love because of an intellectual attraction, as well as a physical one.

This got me thinking about the rest of the Disney princesses. While I’m a massive fan of Disney films, there a few of the princesses that are rather irritating when you think about it. Obviously, some of the problems are due to the time period they we released, when the depiction of women wasn’t quite the priority.

94343-Disney-Frozen-Elsa-meme-so-you-NPt1

                So here is my take on the best and worst Disney princess role models:-

The Best:-

Mulan – She disguises herself as a man to join the army and save her father, gets a Rocky-style montage and becomes the best soldier in the unit. Even when she gets found out (after saving everyone) she still goes on to save the whole of China.

tumblr_inline_mj99yxZwZW1qz4rgp

Merida – A Disney princess who refuses to marry and is still unmarried at the end of the film. And she’s handier with a bow and arrow than Katniss Everdeen.

princess-merida_o_454092

Elsa/Anna – A nice sign of Disney moving into the 21st century. We can have a queen without her having to have a king and both Elsa and Anna have a complete personality. There’s a nice inside joke that the idea of want to marry someone after only having just met them and the central love story is about sisterly love.

Jasmine – Nicely feisty and stands up for herself. And she’s more than happy to marry for love, even if he is a penniless orphan, instead of just choosing any old prince.

 3pnlm3

The Worst:-

Aurora – Sleeping Beauty meets a stranger in the woods, doesn’t even know his name and then throws a strop when she won’t get the chance to see him when he turns up at her house, even though she’s just discovered she’s a princess. She’d rather entertain a stranger than finally get to meet her real parents after sixteen years. In the whole film, she only sings, dances, throws a hissy fit, sleeps and has awesome hair. That’s it really.

funny-cartoon-logic-sleeping-beauty

Cinderella – Original Disney Cinderella doesn’t seem to have that much depth to her. While it follows the idea of being good and believing in magic so everything will work out ok in the end, Cinderella seems to just put up with her station in life, cries a few times, lets other people sort things out for her (a fairy godmother or pet mice) then falls in love with a man who can’t even remember what she looks like after a night of dancing with her.

Ariel – The Little Mermaid is probably one of my favourite Disney films but Ariel is a complete drip – although she is only sixteen, so maybe she can be forgiven for that. She willing trades her voice for legs, changing everything about her, all for a bloke she’s laid eyes on once and she’s supposed to rely simply on her looks to win him over. Not the greatest message for young girls.

article-2339722-1A439A40000005DC-726_634x888

Obviously there’s a few more princesses who I haven’t included, mainly because I feel they’re kind of down the middle. While Rapunzel and Belle are better role models than some of the older Disney princesses, I don’t find Snow White that bad, if you take all things into consideration.

What do you think? Who would you include in the best and the worst?

Megan

xoxo

Advertisements

The Bechdel Test

There’s a lot being discussed at the moment regarding the diversity, or lack thereof, in cinema these days. With the most recent Oscar nominations, there was a bit of an uproar at how it seems to be a white boys club.

Despite some amazing talent out there, women still don’t seem be able to access the same heights as their male counterparts. The highest paid actress in 2014 (Angelina Jolie at $33million) was 10th in the list if you combined males and females. While that amount of money seems very good, if you take a look at the bigger picture, you see some very big female names earning a lot less than the men.

2013-gender-pay

One of the ways of assessing how female-friendly a film is these days is by using the Bechdel Test. The criteria for it is relatively straightforward. It consists of three rules which must all be met for it to pass the test:-

  1. It has to have at least two [named] women in it…
  2. …Who talk to each other…
  3. …About something besides a man.

You’d be surprised how many films you think would fit this criteria actually don’t.

Obviously, the rules need to be taken with a pinch of salt. You need to consider the context of a film before completely judging it. If it’s a biopic based in a man’s prison, then it’s pretty good odds there won’t be a woman involved. However, if it’s a film where there are plenty of female characters milling around, but not being utilised properly and stereotyped, that’s where we’re going to hit a problem and I think it’s the issues in these sorts of films that need to be addressed.

I’ve taken a look at my own top five films to see if they would pass or fail the Bechdel Test…

  1. The Princess Bride – FAILED

There are only two named female characters in the whole film (Buttercup and Valerie) and they don’t get the chance to interact. I don’t really mind the character of Buttercup, but I do find her a little bit too helpless. And that scene with the ROUS always annoys me because she just stands there while Westley is getting attacked, when she could at least try to help.

2. Some Like it Hot – PASSED

Even if you’re not classing Tony Curtis and Jack Lemmon as women in this, it still passes the test thanks to the scenes on the train. If you are, then it passes with flying colours!

some-like-it-hot-quotes-07

3. Life is Beautiful – FAILED

Again, very few named female characters in this. Though the heart of the story comes from the father-son relationship and Guido trying to protect his son in the concentration camp.

4. Lord of the Rings – FAILED

It fails over all three films. Granted, they were working off the original text and Tolkien doesn’t have a great number of female characters (in The Hobbit, Peter Jackson had to create a female character since there were none included in the book). Even though it fails the test, its redeeming factor is that the few named female characters are pretty bad-ass. Case and point, Eowyn’s battle with the Witch King.

tumblr_m5dtx5Kwa11r01z2zo1_500

 5. Pan’s Labyrinth – PASSED

A lot of interaction between two female characters here (mother and daughter). Plus it’s a real plus that the central protagonist, Ofelia, is a very strong character, despite being so young.

0811-pans-labyrinth-ofelia-ivana-baquero-now-photos-768-launch-480w

How do your own favourite films measure up against the test?

xoxo

Oscar 2015 Predictions

Sorry things have been a little bit quiet on the Awards Seasons front recently. All my writing time has been focused on my books, which meant I bypassed the BAFTAs completely. My very quick commentary on them is that I personally didn’t think there were any big surprises with the winners that evening, Stephen Fry was wonderful as per usual and having Chris Evans and Henry Cavill present an award together almost broke my television! Well played to the organisational team on that one!

tumblr_njh929UNRm1qkx4nbo1_500

So tonight is the end of the season and we finish up on the peak of the awards mountain. The Oscars will take place later and by the time everyone will have woken up in the UK tomorrow morning, all the little statues will have been handed out. I think I’m more excited about Neil Patrick Harris presenting than the awards themselves because you know there are going to be some awesome musical numbers in there.

So my penultimate blog post on the Awards Season 2015 will be my predictions for tonight – hopefully I won’t get it too wrong!

Best Picture

This has become a two-horse race between Birdman and Boyhood now, with most of the awards this season being split, but I think Boyhood is just going to edge it and take the award home tonight.

Who I’d like to win – Selma, The Grand Budapest Hotel or Whiplash. I still haven’t seen Boyhood and I felt Birdman was pretty overrated. I enjoyed all the other nominees much, much more and think I would rather see one of them win it, especially one of the aforementioned three.

untitled

Best Director

Another head to head between Boyhood and Birdman, although again, I think Boyhood will edge this. Richard Linklater will end up with the award – making a film over twelve years kind of works in your favour!

Who I’d like to win – Wed Anderson. I greatly enjoyed The Grand Budapest Hotel and thought everything about it was well done. Although I would have really liked to see Ava DuVernay (Selma) or Angelina Jolie (Unbroken) in this category. Partly to fly the flag for female directors and partly because they both did amazing jobs this year and deserved to be recognised.

Best Actor

I read an interesting article saying that the race between Eddie Redmayne and Michael Keaton might cause them to cancel each other out and Bradley Cooper could sweep in and steal the award. The important thing to remember is that he hasn’t been around for the other awards, so we can’t do any real comparisons. Though I thought it was a standout performance and Cooper’s best yet, I think the award will still (fully deservedly) go to Eddie Redmayne.

Who I’d like to win – Eddie Redmayne #TeamEddie!

 f9d9126a8ff4848b_TTOE_D19_06191_R1409353879.xxxlarge_2x

Best Actress

A strong category this year which is lovely to see, but it seems that if Julianne Moore doesn’t walk away with the Oscar, someone will have mucked up counting the votes!

Who I’d like to win – This is only on the basis that Still Alice hasn’t been released in the UK yet. I wouldn’t mind Rosamund Pike winning. She put in a fantastic performance for Gone Girl.

 Julianne-Moore-in-Still-Alice

Best Supporting Actor

As with the Best Actress award, think this one is a pretty safe bet. J.K Simmons looks like he’ll be taking an Oscar home later, which I’ve got no problem with at all. His performance was amazing, if not a little terrifying. The tension in the Rushing or Dragging scene makes it one of the standout of the film.

Who I’d like to win – If for some reason J.K Simmons doesn’t get it (which is highly unlikely), Mark Ruffalo is equally as deserving.

Best Supporting Actress

Everything points to this going to Patricia Arquette. Afraid I still can’t comment as I still haven’t seen Boyhood (sorry!)

Who I’d like to win – I really enjoyed both Laura Dern’s performance in Wild and Keira Knightley’s in The Imitation Game, so wouldn’t mind seeing either of those taking it.

_73321190_72290666

So that’s it. Those are my predictions for the big six awards. Now we just have to wait and see how right or wrong I was.

I’ll be back tomorrow with my final post to cover the winners, any potential surprises, NPH and the dresses!

xoxo

The SAG Awards 2015

Screen_Actors_Guild_Award_trophy

So the second big event in the Awards Season calendar is done and dusted. Here is my opinion on the winners and the dresses.

I like the SAG awards because it’s actors voting for their peers, which makes things a bit more interesting and there’s the chance of a few surprises creeping in every year.

Again, for the awards, I’m only covering film because I don’t watch enough TV to be able to fairly offer a view on the winners for that.

Right, first stop, the winners:-

Outstanding Performance by a Cast in a Motion Picture – Birdman

Birdman hasn’t been my favourite film of all the big Awards Season nominees, but the one thing that I thought when I came out of the screening was that it was a well-performed piece, so I can live with this award. Although, I would have liked to have seen The Great Budapest Hotel pick this one up.

Outstanding Performance by a Male Actor in a Leading Role – Eddie Redmayne (The Theory of Everything)

Eddie FTW! Fully deserved. That is all!

Outstanding Performance by a Female Actor in a Leading Role – Julianne Moore (Still Alice)

Still Alice still hasn’t been released in the UK, so I’m reserving judgement, although I think this was to be expected. Julianne Moore is pretty much the favourite for every award going.

Outstanding Performance by a Male Actor in a Supporting Role – J.K. Simmons (Whiplash)

Caught a showing of Whiplash last night and I was pleasantly surprised by how much I enjoyed it. It was interesting and intense. Most of the intensity came from J.K. Simmons’ performance, which was just amazing. I’m still trying to work out the character and if I should hate him or not. Although when he’s throwing chairs in an attempt to decapitate a drummer, you should probably hate him.

Outstanding Performance by a Female Actor in a Supporting Role – Patricia Arquette (Boyhood)

Boyhood is the one I haven’t caught up with (it’s on my LoveFilm list, so stop judging me!). What I’ve picked up on, is that twelve years of work for Patricia Arquette is going to pay off this awards season.

Now, the second critique of the awards season is going to be the looks. I think there was some stunning dresses on this red carpet and the make-up and hair was a step up from what we saw at the Golden Globes. Although Rosamund Pike has disappointed me again. Come on Rosamund, I know you can do better than that.

In no particular order, here are my top five looks from the SAG Awards 2015.

  1. Claire Danes in Marc Jacobs

rexfeatures_4381644e

Very few people could pull off this dress and perhaps even this colour, but she makes it work. And the hair is just stunning.

  1. Sofia Vergara in Donna Karen Atelier

rexfeatures_4381625am

She’s just a general all-round stunner, so it would be hard to look anything except amazing, but Sofia Vergara looks fierce in red.

  1. Camilla Alves in Donna Karen Atelier

rexfeatures_4381625ab

Absolutely love this dress, probably because it’s something I like to think I could pull off but know I never could in my wildest dreams. She’s just rocking it and it helps she has a rocking body to put the dress on.

4. Keira Knightley in Erdem

rexfeatures_4381601z

We can move on from that questionable Chanel butterfly dress at the Golden Globes. Keira Knightley looks stunning in purple and the pregnancy glow is only accentuating her beauty.

  1. Reese Witherspoon in Giorgio Armarni

rexfeatures_4381601an

Simple yet stunning.

Next stop is the BAFTAs! See you then.

xoxo

The Golden Globes – Part 2: The Dresses

So I’m a little late in the uptake of ranking the dresses from Sunday’s Golden Globe ceremony and 48 hours is a long time in show business (I think there’s been another five awards shows since?), but I finally got around to it.

I think I was a little disappointed with the red-carpet viewing for Sunday. There didn’t seem to be the usual number of dresses that made me go “wow” and there were quite a few awful ones (Keira Knightly and Rosamund Pike – I had such high hopes. Why?). I also didn’t think there was a great amount going on with hair and make-up this year either.

The ten I’ve picked are for looks that I feel were well-rounded. The ones who got everything right. So, in no particular order…

Amy Adams

Amy Adams

I love Amy and think she always looks gorgeous. Dressed in Versace, she’s got everything right and ended up looking like a Greek goddess.

Anna Kendrick

Anna

Nailed it in Monique Lhullier. She looks like a princess.

Jessica Chastain

Jess

The first thing I saw when I saw her wearing this Atelier Versace gown was Marilyn Monroe. And if anyone oozes Hollywood glamour and sex appeal, it’s Jessica Chastain.

Salma Hayek

Salma

I’m not going to lie, I love the dress but it’s the clutch that does it for me here. A signature Alexander McQueen clutch to match the bag.

Felicity Jones

Felicty

I think she pulls the Dior gown off well. It’s simple, yet dramatic at the same time and she’s got the hair and make-up perfect.

Helen Mirren

Helen

She always gets it right. Dressed in Dolce and Gabbana, she proves you can have great style at any age. What’s more is, she knows how great she looks.

Kate Beckinsale

Kate

She always looks beautiful and has hit the mark in Elie Saab. The pulled back hair just helps show off her incredibly, flawless face.

Katie Cassidy

Katie

Ok, so the dress does look like it’s gone a few rounds with Freddy Kruger, but I like it. It’s daring and Katie is owning it, which is what makes it work. She worked to cutaway trend better than some of the others on the night.

Greer Grammer

Greer

Pretty and feminine, it’s a lovely dress from Lorena Sarb for Miss Golden Globe. The up-do adds the perfect finishing touches, taking nothing away from the dress.

Tina Fey 

Tina

Funny, beautiful and stylish – she can do it all. And she completely pulls the tux off.

Golden Globes 2015 – Part 1: The Awards

So the little golden statues have been dished out, which now allows me to add my own quick reflection into an already vast sea of opinions on the winners.

I’ve only ventured into the realm of the main film categories – I don’t watch nearly enough TV to be able to say anything worthwhile. In fact, I think out of all the nominees, I’ve only seen a couple of the shows mentioned.

Best Motion Picture (Drama) – Boyhood

The money is on this to be a big winner throughout Awards Season and, Sod’s Law, it’s one of the few I haven’t seen! It wasn’t shown for a long period at my local cinema and I never got around to it (awful excuse, I know), which means I’m going to have to catch this one in DVD before I form an opinion.

boyhood_xlg

Best Motion Picture (Musical or Comedy) – The Grand Budapest Hotel

Bit of a surprise for this category (wasn’t this supposed to be all about Birdman?) but thoroughly deserved. I greatly enjoyed this film and while I would like to have seen Pride win, this was a close second. A lot of fun and, personally, I do think it is a better, more enjoyable film than Birdman.

Best Performance by an Actor in a Motion Picture (Drama) –

Eddie Redmayne for The Theory of Everything

100% right. Just give Eddie the rest of the awards this season because he definitely deserves them!

The next round of awards are going to be interesting though because Eddie Redmayne and Michael Keaton are going to be in the same category. Personally, Eddie FTW! That might just become my most repeated phrase until 22nd February.

rs_634x1024-150111201447-634.Eddie-Redmayne-Award-Golden-Globes.ms.011115

Best Performance by an Actress in a Motion Picture (Drama) –

Julianne Moore for Still Alice

Still Alice hasn’t been released in the UK yet, so I can’t offer an opinion, but she was the favourite, so it’s not much of a surprise really.

Best Performance by an Actor in a Motion Picture (Musical or Comedy) –

Michael Keaton for Birdman

Not too much of a surprise here as Keaton was favourite. Though I think I would have preferred Ralph Fiennes to have taken the Globe away. I enjoyed his performance much more and, for an actor in a comedy category, he certainly made me laugh a lot more.

Best Performance by an Actress in a Motion Picture (Musical or Comedy)

Amy Adams for Big Eyes

I’ve already admitted to having missed Big Eyes in the previous post, but I absolutely adore Amy Adams and I think everything she does is great, so I’m pretty sure this win was deserved.

 

Best Performance by an Actor in a Supporting Role in a Motion Picture

J.K. Simmons for Whiplash

Whiplash hasn’t been released in the UK yet, but there had already been a lot of buzz around J.K. Simmons’ role. From what I’d heard, Mark Ruffalo seemed to be a serious contender too (Foxcatcher to be viewed this week), so I’d expected it to be between these two actors based on what I’d picked up.

Best Performance by an Actress in a Supporting Role in a Motion Picture

Patricia Arquette for Boyhood

Gah – now I have to admit again to having missed Boyhood. I’m a terrible film-lover, I know. I did think this had Meryl Streep’s name on it though, because, you know, if Meryl Streep is nominated for an award, you expect them to put her name on it before they even announce the win.

 

Best Director – Richard Linklater for Boyhood

See the frustration mentioned above. But if you’re going to make a film over twelve years, that seems like a good enough reason to win, if nothing else.

 

Best Animated Film – How to Train Your Dragon 2

Now, I enjoyed How to Train Your Dragon 2. I laughed in all the right places, it made me cry when it was supposed to and it had Kit Harrington in – it was a well-rounded film. But this category had The Lego Movie in it! THE LEGO MOVIE! The “!” pretty much sums my point up, I feel.

So that’s my general view on the awards. Next step is what most people want to know – who was the best dressed? To be posted very shortly!

xoxo

And Awards Season Begins…

January may be one of the dreariest months, what with its bad weather and post-Christmas come-down. But there is one thing that brightens up those dark-too-early evenings for me and that is Awards Season. I love it. It combines two of my favourite things – cinema and designer dresses. When it kicks all off, I intently follow the updates – who’s nominated for what, who’s likely to win what and who wears what. BAFTA_award

With the BAFTA nominations announced yesterday and the Golden Globes ceremony tomorrow, I’m in my element. With Tina Fey and Amy Poelher hosing again this year, I’m even more excited (I’m a massive Amy fan-girl). So, until February 22nd, when the Oscars have been dished out (NPH hosting? Cue even more excitement!), I’ll be throwing my maybe-not-so-valued opinions in on the season.

To start with, I’m going to weigh in on the BAFTA noms. I think I may prefer the BAFTAs to the Oscars, mainly because they’re just so, well, British. It’s usually raining on the red carpet, Stephen Fry hosts with wonderful dry-wit and it’s never over-the-top. Plus, I’m watching it in the same time zone and every year, a small group of us order in take-away while we watch it, making an evening out of the whole thing. I can already taste my Mizu now.

But I digress. Back to my original point. My general feelings towards the nominations this year is that they are pretty spot-on. The big disappointment seems to have been a lack of interest in Mr Turner, which I’m ashamed to say, I never got around to seeing, so I can’t really offer my opinion on this. But I have seen almost all of the nominated films in the big categories, save for the ones that haven’t been released in the UK yet.

Best Actor

I have now seen all the films which these men are nominated for. I’m really glad Jake Gyllenhaal was nominated for Nightcrawler because it was a terrific, unhinged performance. Equally as glad about the recognition Ralph Fiennes nomination because that was a wonderful and surprising comedic turn.

Apparently the smart money for awards season is supposed to be on Michael Keaton for Birdman. While this was a well-delivered performance, I would much rather see either Benedict Cumberbatch or Eddie Redmayne walk away with that golden mask. Personally, I think they both have the edge – popular British actors in biopics about important, British men. I found both performances captivating and brilliant. But if I had to pick between the two, I think it should be Eddie Redmayne who wins it and he’s got a serious chance too.

theory_of_everything_ver2_xlg

Best Actress

With this category, I’ve only seen two of the nominated actresses – Rosamund Pike in Gone Girl and Felicity Jones in The Theory of Everything (Wild is being viewed on Monday, Still Alice hasn’t been released here yet and Big Eyes was shown at our local cinema for a week and that was it!).

Between the two I actually have seen, I would be happy if either of them won. Felicity Jones delivers a beautiful and real performance whereas Rosamund Pike is completely different to anything I have seen her in before. She’s about as far away from Jane Bennett as you could possibly get. After watching Gone Girl, I walked out of the cinema thinking she deserves as many awards as she can get for that role because she was incredible. I still feel like that.

Best Film/Best British Film

The good thing about the BAFTAs is there’s two chances for some films to win an award. This really was a great year for British cinema and I think it’s going to be a tight race to call. If I was voting (which sadly I’m not, so this point is kind of mute) I’d go for The Imitation Game for Best Film then Pride for the Best British Film. They were two of the films I enjoyed most in 2014 and both of them deserve to be honoured.

TheImitationGame-BC

The Imitation Game was just a wonderfully well-rounded film with fantastic performances. Even though I knew what was going to happen eventually, it still didn’t stop me from getting nervous for the characters when they were trying to crack the code. Pride was equally as well-rounded and the performances equally as good. It was heart-warming and feel-good, yet still made you tense whilst watching certain scenes.

The most important aspect of these films for me though, was the fact they both portrayed people and a time in our history we should know more about. In the case of The Imitation Game, I knew of Bletchley Park and succeeding in breaking the code, but I didn’t know many of the details. Most of my World War Two knowledge is based around its origins and then the combat, rather than what was being done behind the scenes to win the war. I certainly didn’t know how abysmally Alan Turing was treated once the war was over. Pride showed me a side of Britain in the 80s I didn’t know too much about either. Not having been born until 1989, I only knew of the state of the country in the 80s from things I had read or from what people had told me. What I didn’t realised was that there was a lot of intolerance and homophobia. After all, it really wasn’t that long ago. Maybe I was just being naïve? The film itself has a very strong message which I think is important for all.

So, I’ve covered the big three categories that people have the most interest in. I could rabbit on for days if I covered all the nominees and you certainly have better things to do! But I shall be back after the Golden Globes with my thoughts and opinions on the awards and the best dresses. So, until then…

xoxo

Today’s Inspirational Woman – Audrey Hepburn

Image

Anyone who knows me, knows that I worship at the altar of Audrey Hepburn. Never mind her taking Julie Andrews’ role in My Fair Lady, she should have taken Mary Poppins because she is practically perfect in every way. She is instantly recognisable across the world, she had her own style this is replicated even today, she was lifelong friends with Givenchy and she won an Oscar in her first staring role. There never was, and never will be, anyone like Audrey again.

Her life was so eventful that I’m afraid a simple blog post is only going to touch the subject of Audrey Hepburn so I literally am only going to skim the surface here. I highly recommend you go out and get a biography (I will recommend some books at the end) so you can read more about her life because some of the things she went through were truly amazing.

Born on 4th May 1929 to Baroness Ella von Heemstra and Joseph Hepburn-Rushton, she was of Dutch origin on her mother’s side but gained British Citizenship because of her British father. I’m not going to dwell on it too long because I could end up doing a blog post on just her father, but it’s worth looking into him in a little more depth – Audrey’s mother found him in bed with the family nanny and he was a Nazi sympathiser. So, back to Audrey, she grew up in England even after her parents divorced, being school in Kent. When England declared war on Germany in 1939, Audrey’s mother took her back to Arnhem in Holland.

This is a very interesting part of Audrey’s life and probably the part that shaped her into the woman she became with the hardness she had to endure and the terrors she saw and it is a testament to her as a person that she came out the other side with such a kind spirit.

During the years of the Nazi Occupation of Holland, Audrey’s mother changed her daughter’s name to Edda von Heemstra because she thought Audrey Hepburn sounded too English. The Occupation saw scarce food for everyone and Audrey resorted to making flour from tulip bulbs in order to bake. The malnutrition during her formative years would affect her metabolism, making it difficult for her to gain weight in later life. But she did find herself a role during this time. Having started ballet at age five, she wanted to be a ballerina, and during the war she would dance in secret to help raise money for the Dutch Resistance, apparently sometimes even carrying messages for them in her shoes. But towards the end of the war she became very ill and at the time of the liberation, Audrey was suffering from malnutrition, anaemia and oedema.

The years following the war, Audrey tried to realise her dream of becoming a ballerina, helped by her mother and they ended up in London. But when she was later informed that while she could be a good dancer, the years of missed training because of the war and her height of 5ft 7 meant she would never be a great dancer. Audrey was crushed that she would not be able to live out her dream but, not one to mope around when life knocked her back, she started as a chorus girl in the West End. This then grew into the odd, one-line role in a few British pictures. Fate, however, was on her side when she flew out to Monte Carlo for the film Monte Carlo Baby and she was seen by Colette who was looking for someone to play the title role in her Broadway production of Gigi. On seeing Audrey, Colette immediately knew she was perfect and Audrey got the gig.

This was the start of Audrey’s star’s ascent because she was then cast as the beautiful Princess Ann in Roman Holiday. The film is about a weary princess who sneaks out and spends the day in Rome with a handsome journalist (played by the handsome Gregory Peck). He knows she is the missing princess, she doesn’t know he’s actually a journalist and the story plays out in Rome – what’s not to love?

Image

Peck knew what talent he was working with and although she was a new-comer and he was the establish star, he demanded she share equal billing with him. What a gent! And he was right because she won the Oscar for Best Actress that year with her performance. It seemed Audrey couldn’t put a foot wrong. She followed this up with a role in Billy Wilder’s classic, Sabrina, co-staring Humphrey Bogart and William Holden (we’ll come back to him in a bit). This was where her friendship with Hubert de Givenchy began.

Audrey was sent to Paris to Givenchy’s atelier to meet with him and pick out some pieces she could wear for the film. Givenchy had been expecting a “Miss Hepburn” and automatically assumed Katherine was going to walk in. He had no idea who Audrey was (Roman Holiday hadn’t been released when filming for Sabrina started) and at first he was reluctant to help but she won him over, just by being Audrey, and a great friendship began.

She picked up three Givenchy pieces and they certainly were excellent choices. There was the suit she looking stunning in when she waited outside the station, running into the object of her affection, David Larrabee. There was the black dress she wore on her date with Linus Larrabee. And of course, there was the iconic ball gown she rocked when she found herself in the Larrabee tennis courts. Sheer perfection.

Image

Now I could wax poetic for many hours about Audrey’s films and the costumes she wore, but I really will not be able to stop so I’m just going to list off some of her classic films you should check out and why:-

Roman Holiday – as mentioned above.

Sabrina – also as mentioned above.

Breakfast at Tiffany’s – obviously!

Charade – Audrey and Cary Grant, in the same picture!

My Fair Lady – It’s a bit long and they needlessly dubbed Audrey’s singing voice but definitely worth it for her performance.

Wait Until Dark – She gives a compelling performance, playing a blind woman terrorised in her own home.

Funny Face – Set in Paris and showcases Audrey’s dancing abilities. She even gets to dance with Fred Astaire.

And of course there are a whole host of others!

Now, onto another part of Audrey’s life. Her love life. Practically everyone she met fell in love with her almost immediately. But she didn’t quite have the love life she deserved.

One of the great loves of her life was William Holden and by the sounds of it, she was always his. But it never worked out. They met when he was still married but separated from his long-suffering wife on the set of Sabrina and began a passionate affair, but the deal breaker for Audrey was that Holden had had a vasectomy. Children were very important to her. She then announced her engagement to fellow actor Mel Ferrer. They were married for fourteen years but eventually divorced. Their son Sean, born in 1960 after two miscarriages, even thought Audrey stayed in the marriage longer than she should have. Many believed that Mel was quite controlling of Audrey and maybe always a bit jealous that she was the star and he never reached the heights she did.

She met Andrea Dotti, an Italian psychologist, not long after her divorce and married him in 1969, giving birth to a second son Luca the following year. Though they eventually divorced because of Dotti’s constant infidelity (idiot!), again, she stayed in her marriage longer than she should have because of the children.

But then there was Rob Wolden. They met a few months after the death of his wife and the end of her marriage to Dotti. A perfect companion to Audrey and very similar to her in temperament, they never married but stayed together until Audrey’s death. He was a constant in her life, assisting her with her humanitarian work for UNICEF and enjoying life with her.

When she gracefully bowed out of the acting work, Audrey began to work for UNICEF, raising awareness and money for some of the poorest countries in the world. Having experienced first hand the issues of hunger and war during the occupation of Holland, she could relate on a similar level to the people she was helping. This became an important part of her life that she was very proud of.

Image

She died on 20th January 1993 from appendiceal cancer at the age of 64. This was a relatively young age for her life to end at but her legacy is sure to go on forever. There was just something about Audrey Hepburn that you had to admire whether it was her acting talent, her beauty, her style or the kind nature she exuded.

Today, she would have been 85, so what better way to celebrate than by slipping on a little black dress, an oversized pair of shades and listening to Moon River.

 

More Information:-

Highly recommend reading an actual biography because there is A LOT more to Audrey that I’ve mentioned here. I really enjoyed the Donald Spoto biography Enchanted and one of my favourite books (not just Audrey books) is entitled What Would Audrey Do? by Pamela Keogh. It’s a guide on how you can live your life in Audrey style while still being a pretty thorough biography.

The internet is a great resource if you want any help recreating Audrey’s surprisingly attainable style. Polyvore is great for examples of the types of outfits you can put together and there are countless hair and make-up tutorials on Youtube.

And of course, finally, go watch her movies.