Thursday, May 30, 2013

Funny Face (1957)

4 Nominations, 0 Wins

Nomination: Best Cinematography - Ray June
Nomination: Best Costume Design - Edith Head and Hubert de Givenchy
Nomination: Best Writing, Story and Screenplay Written Directly for the Screen - Leonard Gershe
Nomination: Best Art Direction, Set Decoration - Hal Pereira, George W. Davis, Sam Comer, and Ray Davis

Funny Face is one of those classic films that I felt like I had already seen even though I had never watched it, likely due to the ubiquity of the image of Audrey Hepburn dancing in skinny black pants (perhaps it was just watching this commercial so many times that made me feel that I had already seen the movie).  I figured it was time to finally give Funny Face a proper viewing and enjoy it as a film instead of iconography.  Unfortunately, little in the film worked for me outside of the iconography.

Funny Face tells the story of a bookish young woman who, despite her initial intellectual dismissal of the fashion industry, soon becomes a part of the world she once looked down upon.  Sound like a certain film starring Anne Hathaway and Meryl Streep?  Indeed, Funny Face is The Devil Wears Prada without the devil, and this is the root problem with the film.  It's a narrative largely devoid of conflict.  The screenplay throws in a few minor roadbumps in the romance romance between the characters portrayed by Hepburn and Fred Astaire, but they don't add up to much and there's little to stand between the characters other than their own idiocy.  Hepburn's character is unlikable, Astaire's is uninteresting, and their romance is unconvincing.

Yet those who reflect fondly on Funny Face rarely mention the romance of the characters, instead reminiscing about the fashion.  Indeed, Givenchy's costume work is stunning, and though the dresses aren't as iconic as his work in Sabrina, Givenchy and Edith Head were well deserving of their Oscar nomination.  Astaire's dancing is great as always, though there are fewer opportunities for him to dance than in his best works.  Of course, it is Hepburn's dance that is best remembered, and though the scene comes off as more than a bit goofy in the context of the film, it's easy to see why it has gained such iconic status.

If you're an Audreyphile or a fashionista, Funny Face will be up your alley, but otherwise you can just watch the GAP commercial.

Remaining: 3144 films, 871 Oscars, 5398 nominations

No comments:

Post a Comment