Wednesday, November 13

Inspirations :: Holly Golightly

Today's Inspiration Icon :: Holly Golightly

(Character) Played by: Audrey Hepburn
Movie: Breakfast at Tiffany's (book as well)

If there ever was an icon above all icons, both in personality, fashion, style, and lifestyle, it's Holly Golightly.

Played (beautifully) by Audrey Hepburn (another icon in her own right) and written by Truman Capote, Holly is not necessarily all that bright, but is fun, sleek, quick, fashionable, and oh-so independent.

"Holly (age 18–19) is a country girl turned New York café society girl. As such, she has no job and lives by socializing with wealthy men, who take her to clubs and restaurants, and give her money and expensive presents; she hopes to marry one of them. According to Capote, Golightly is not a prostitute but an American geisha."[1]" -- Wikipedia

“I'm very scared, Buster. Yes, at last. Because it could go on forever. Not knowing what's yours until you've thrown it away.”  -- Holly, book

The book and movie are certainly two different things. Not only is one literary fiction (book) and one a romantic comedy (movie), but Holly is definitely different in each. Also, details in the plot and ending are very different (In the book, Paul [no name] is gay-- though in love with her-- and *spoiler* they don't end up together)

"Capote: Holly Golightly was not precisely a call girl. She had no job, but accompanied expense-account men to the best restaurants and night clubs, with the understanding that her escort was obligated to give her some sort of gift, perhaps jewelry or a check ... if she felt like it, she might take her escort home for the night. So these girls are the authentic American geishas" --Wikipedia

Yet both the book and the movie are two of my favorite things in the world, with very different reasons for each; but Holly is still a strange, wild, delightful character to read, watch, and be inspired by. I really think, though, that this is not only because of how cool or glamorous or independent she is (she is all those things) but all because of her very real, very human flaws.

"there are a lot of major differences between Capote's 1958 novella and George Axelrod's screenplay to the 1961 movie. There's the setting (the 1940s, not the contemporary 1960s), the nameless narrator (called Paul in the film), Holly's age (she's still in her late teens in the story but played by 31-year-old Hepburn on-screen), Holly's fondness for marijuana (gone in the film). Holly's bisexuality (ditto), and the wistful, ambiguous ending (replaced in the film by a conventional romantic happy ending)."

"Holly likes to shock people with carefully selected tidbits from her personal life or her outspoken viewpoints on various topics. Over the next year, she slowly reveals herself to the narrator, who finds himself fascinated by her curious lifestyle." -- Wikipedia

Holly is kind-hearted, but also selfish. Desperate to be free, she leaves her family behind and chooses a life for herself. Brave and free-spirited move? Yes. But there are many times when Holly shows her occasional selfish, shallow side. Also, her... intellect? I don't remember if this was an issue in the book (I'll check), but in the movie she shows a very simple lack of knowledge in things such as books and the law and her interpretations of people and situations. There's also her depression and sort of... lack of direction, which I think is a very human touch; her Mean Reds.

"“The blues are because you’re getting fat and maybe it’s been raining too long, you’re just sad, that’s all. The mean reds are horrible. Suddenly you’re afraid and you don’t know what you’re afraid of.”  " --Holly, movie

Yet despite these flaws she's still beautiful and fun and free, and kind of the very essence of a (admittedly lazy) modern woman who wants to choose her life and live it exactly as she likes wherever and whenever she wants to. She still feels out of place and like she hasn't found herself (or her home) yet, which is a theme that reoccurs in both the book and movie, but she continues to search. In the movie this is somewhat resolved with romance (of course) but in the book it's never really solved, perhaps because it doesn't have to be. Holly continues to explore the world and live as freely as she chooses, and I think it's a more empowering, freeing ending that allows us to remember that we can always continue on our journey. The romance is cute and all, but not exactly empowering.

""Good luck: and believe me, dearest Doc -- it's better to look at the sky than live there. Such an empty place; so vague. Just a country where the thunder goes and things disappear.”" -- Holly, book

While Holly's leaving is remembered with melancholy, the book seems to say, in a way, that we never have to stop searching for ourselves if we don't want to. We don't have to settle down. We don't have to give in to what other people want. We don't have to be what other people want. We can live our own lives. Even as women. Even as someone selfish, vain, naive women; we can live our lives.


Related Reads:

Revelations about Breakfast At Tiffany's
Holly Golightly is my Guru
The Making of Holly Golightly
25 Things You Might Not Know...

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