Audrey Cracks the myth of Perfection

f57mb5 audrey hepburn 1929 1993 british film actress at the givenchy studio about 1957 image shot 1957 exact date unknown

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Ask any Audrey Hepburn fan what they love most about her, and you’ll get loads of responses: her undeniable elegance and imitable style. Her magnetic presence on film. Her girl-subsequent-door enchantment. for therefore lots of her enthusiasts, certainly girls, she wasn’t just a glamorous celeb and humanitarian—she was the embodiment of perfection. but in Audrey, director Helena Coan’s enthralling new documentary, the late movie star’s flawless veneer gently drops away to show some thing way more stirring: authenticity.

“Success is terribly much within the eye of the beholder,” Hepburn says in the movie, her words culled from interviews and media appearances all through her lifetime. it be an intimate detail nestled at the middle of a one hundred-minute narrative in regards to the woman behind the superstar, a person whose photo of herself was tons less complex than how others perceived her. featuring commentary from fellow actors and filmmakers together with Richard Dreyfuss and Peter Bogdanovich, in addition to family and shut pals who determine her have an impact on in fashion and cinema, Audrey essentially tells Hepburn’s story in her own words—and that they’re often in contrast to her legacy.

as an instance, her affinity for clothier clothes immortalized in films comparable to Breakfast at Tiffany’s (like that lovely black Givenchy column gown she wears within the opening credit) changed into often a masks for her insecurities that stemmed, in part, from feeling like an outsider in Hollywood. “clothing always provide me a superb deal of self-confidence,” Hepburn says.

With reflections on her childhood becoming up throughout Belgium, England, and the Netherlands amid the horrors of World warfare II, Coan depicts a lady who as soon as almost starved from lack of food. When the teenager all started making a bit money through her old flame, dancing, in Amsterdam, French novelist Colette plucked her from digital obscurity to play the titular position in Broadway’s Gigi. That major half, along with her remarkable charisma in entrance of an viewers, catapulted the somewhat shy Hepburn to superstardom within the 1950s and ‘60s—and gave her a whole new advanced about herself.

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“Of direction, you might believe pressure if you come onto the scene completely new,” Lauren Conlin, a longtime Hepburn fan and host of the entertainment podcast purple Carpet Rendezvous, tells “All you wanted was to be a ballet dancer, and all of a sudden, you might be onscreen and on Broadway. You consider the force to be excellent in every way and need everyone to like you and need to work with you.”

This was handiest exacerbated via Hepburn’s legions of fans, who to at the present time emulate her fashion and fawn over her legacy. “She looks so excellent and stylish on that iconic Breakfast at Tiffany’s poster,” Conlin says, recalling her introduction to Hepburn as a baby. “It changed into like every little lady wanted to be her.”

but as Audrey shows, lasting admiration from all over the world couldn’t counteract how the actress felt about herself. “i used to be all the time self-conscious,” she admits, adding that, along with success, “splendor is within the eye of the beholder. here’s anything i will’t see. I see the problems after I rise up in the morning.” She rattles off all of the things that needs she had: smaller ft (she wore measurement 10½), a curvier figure (à la the equally idolized Marilyn Monroe), and blonde hair.

These small but crucial self-reflections now not handiest supply a extra honest portrayal of a woman whose public photograph well-nigh eclipsed who she in fact changed into, but they also crack the rigid mould of aspiration with which Hepburn is commonly aligned. not in a contrived, “celebrities—they’re similar to us!” sort of method, however somewhat a portrait of what it’s like to be a girl in any era, fighting an countless combat of who we are versus how the realm sees us. right through Hepburn’s time, her graphic become complicated through the notion of ladies as other halves and homemakers—now not the delightful hodgepodge of feminine characters she embodied, from a intercourse worker in Breakfast at Tiffany’s to a childless widow who sweeps Cary supply off his toes in Charade.

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because of these roles, girls desired to be Hepburn and guys desired to be along with her. however in reality, she turned into unfortunate in romance, having divorced twice: first from Mel Ferrer, then Andrea Dotti, who turned into photographed cheating on her time and again. Audrey ponders how the actress’s father abandoning his family when she become a child may’ve propelled her to search for love from guys in her adult life, nonetheless it’s also feasible she unwittingly succumbed to the romantic myth that came along with her celebrity—and turned into heartbroken when she realized it wasn’t authentic.


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As private as Hepburn may be, she appeared to remember the connection she had together with her fans and tried to be as candid as possible about her experiences, including her “anxious” miscarriages, in interviews: “You hope that issues will come returned together again, nevertheless it wasn’t at all times proper,” she says.

it would come as much less of a surprise than it did that Hepburn took a damage from the highlight at the peak of her career following her 1967 film Wait except dark. As plenty as she enjoyed what she did for a dwelling—“I’m a extremely fortunate woman,” she pronounces in Audrey—the love she had for her family unit outmoded that. Hepburn had one son with each and every of her husbands, and with motherhood got here a self assurance she on no account needed to feign as a UNICEF Goodwill Ambassador in her later years. “I’m [traveling] around the world again, but I love to do it,” she says right through a media appearance captured in the documentary.

Hepburn confronted challenges each in entrance of and faraway from the camera, and Audrey suggests she’s an icon not as a result of she’s the archetype of what every lady may still be. quite, despite her overwhelming success and personal struggles, she remained her truest self—and gave back to the area around her. We’re all able to that.

Contributor Candice Frederick is a freelance tv/film critic living in long island metropolis.

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