Reasons to be Cheerful – Breakfast at Tiffanys


Regular readers will know that Audrey Hepburn is idol. The name of this blog is, in fact, inspired by a quote of hers. So it shouldn’t be surprising to know that one of my favourite films of all time is an Audrey film – probably the one she is most famous for, in fact. I couldn’t tell you the first time I saw Breakfast at Tiffany’s, though it’s probably later in life than I care to admit. Since then I’ve made up for lost time though, and must have watched it a hundred times. It’s become one of my favourite pick me ups. Anytime I’m feeling really down I’ll snuggle under a blanket with the dog, pour a glass of wine or make a hot chocolate and by the end, even though it doesn’t solve anything, I’m guaranteed to feel just that little bit better.

I’m not sure what makes it such a ‘happy’ film for me – it isn’t really the most positive of stories, but something about that resonates. The leading characters aren’t your typical role models. They both have dark pasts and questionable morals, and make a myriad of mistakes as the film goes on – they’re basically fundamentally flawed people. But that’s part of the appeal, because to me all people are flawed, and life would be much nicer if people stopped pretending that wasn’t the case, pretending we’re all perfect and never cock anything up and live wonderfully Instagrammable existences. Life isn’t a Hollywood movie – it sucks big time sometimes. Anyone who thinks otherwise is just destined for a sad and disappointing life. The happiest people are those who accept they are flawed, and that others are flawed, and hopefully find others who love them despite those flaws. That is real happiness to me. So when Holly finally gives in at the end, finds Cat and lets Paul Varjack kiss her in the rain, in gives me the warm and fuzzys.

Holly talks about having ‘the mean reds’ in the film. Not the blues, which according to Holly are “because you’re getting fat and maybe it’s been raining too long, you’re just sad that’s all.”  The mean reds to Holly are much worse. “Suddenly you’re afraid and you don’t know what you’re afraid of. Do you ever get that feeling?” I definitely know how she feels lately. When she has the mean reds she heads to Tiffany’s where she feels like nothing bad could ever happen. Well, that’s kind of how I feel about the film, and over the last couple of weeks it’s cheered me up countless times. It just makes me feel like no matter how down I feel about myself or about life it will all be ok somehow. If two people as messed up as that can find each other surely there is hope for me, right!? It feels good to be rooting for two mismatched oddballs rather than a pair of glamorous heros.


My favourite part of the film has always been the speech Paul makes to Holly right before she decides to throw caution to the wind and choose love over money. It’s one that always stuck with me, because I know so many people who’d be happier if they followed similar advice. Not that I know all that many people trying to hunt down a millionaire spouse to escape a life of being a glorified escort, you understand, but I think Paul’s words have meaning for many all the same:

“You know what’s wrong with you, Miss Whoever-you-are? You’re chicken, you’ve got no guts. You’re afraid to stick out your chin and say, “Okay, life’s a fact, people do fall in love, people do belong to each other, because that’s the only chance anybody’s got for real happiness.” You call yourself a free spirit, a “wild thing,” and you’re terrified somebody’s gonna stick you in a cage. Well baby, you’re already in that cage. You built it yourself. And it’s not bounded in the west by Tulip, Texas, or in the east by Somali-land. It’s wherever you go. Because no matter where you run, you just end up running into yourself.”

I don’t believe in Hollywood happy endings, but if I did, this is the one I’d go for!



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