Thursday, 16 June 2016

''Sabrina'' (1954 film)- Review

Directed by: Billy Wilder
Released: 1954
Country: United States

Genre: Romantic comedy, Drama

Rating: 4 out of 5


Sabrina, the protagonist and titular character of the film, is played by Audrey Hepburn. This was her second major film role, the film being released in the year after the great ''Roman Holiday'' was. Directed by Billy Wilder- who also happens to be one of my favorite directors- this is a charming little film, a sweet love triangle, and has extremely funny moments that evoke great laughter.

The film begins when Sabrina is still a teenager. She is the daughter of a chauffeur employed in the household of the Larrabbees, an immensely wealthy family. Linus (Humphrey Bogart) and David (William Holden) are the two sons of the elderly Mr and Mrs Larrabee. Linus is serious, hardworking and workaholic, while David is careless and carefree, having already married and divorced thrice. Sabrina has been infatuated with David since her childhood, and is heartbroken when she finds herself unnoticed, finding her feelings unrequited. Sabrina's father arranges for her to go to Paris and study cooking. Sabrina goes rather unwillingly; however, living in Paris helps her view life with more optimism. She returns several years later, now a polished and sophisticated young lady, and immediately captures David's attention. David falls in love with her, and Sabrina is delighted to find her feelings finally being returned. However, the Larabees are planning a marriage between David and the wealthy Elizabeth Tyson, an association which would be greatly helpful for the family business, and seeing David falling for Sabrina, Linus decides to somehow divert Sabrina's attention from David, but instead finds himself falling for Sabrina, while she, in spite of herself, also finds that she is drawn to Linus.

I really admired the film. I liked the way it remains an interesting love triangle without becoming sappy. Audrey Hepburn's performance is full of emotional depth. At the beginning of the film she is an innocent, immature teenager who feels devastated when her love is unrequited, but when she is older, the character is more mature, more understanding, and though still in love and delighted when David returns her feelings, does not let love fully drive her. Humphrey Bogart, playing a serious middle-aged man who has never fallen in love before, makes the character of Linus believable and interesting. William Holden's character, David, is rather very carefree and careless and so has slightly less depth than the other two major characters. But still, all three of them deliver performances that leave us impressed. The supporting characters are impressive as well. I specially admired the performances by John Williams, who plays Sabrina's father, a person who is deeply concerned observing how his daughter is deeply in love with his employer, and Walter Hampden, who plays David and Linus's elderly father and brings a lot of comic relief in the film! Trust me, Hampden's performance is wonderful!

Besides romance, there is a lot of humor in the film as well. There were quite a few scenes that made me laugh out loud! They really did! While the overall film has a significant amount of emotional depth, the comic reliefs and funny scenes actually make us laugh out loud! The screenplay is excellent, perfectly balancing the tone of the film, making it emotionally deep but at times lighthearted as well.

I know I probably write this thing in every single Billy Wilder film I review but I must write it here as well: the more I watch films by this man, the more I admire him. ''Sabrina'' is a wonderful little film with an excellent screenplay, sufficient emotional depth, humor and comic relief, and very memorable performances. 

4 out of 5

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