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The Audrey Hepburn Story (2000)

 
 

Princess on a Pedestal

Jennifer Love Hewitt and Eric McCormack in The Audrey Hepburn Story (2000)

Biopics are always dangerous territory no matter whether the focus is a celebrity or someone who has done great things in other areas of life but when it comes to biopics of icons it borders on suicidal. And when it comes to icons there is no doubt that Audrey Hepburn deserves the acclaim; an award winning actress, a fashion icon, mother and humanitarian and there is equally no doubt that no matter how fascinating Hepburn's life was to do a biopic was suicidal. That all brings me to "The Audrey Hepburn Story" that suicidal biopic which was made for TV and starred Jennifer Love Hewitt in the lead role of Audrey with Emmy Rossum playing Audrey in her childhood.

Now to give you a brief idea of what is covered in "The Audrey Hepburn Story"; it takes us from her childhood and her father leaving, through the war where after attending boarding school in England moved to Holland where she sometimes helped deliver messages for the resistance, trying to make it as a ballet dancer and then on to her career as a star of stage and screen culminating with "Breakfast at Tiffany's". This time frame is dotted with a couple of relationships as it works through various important elements in her life as well as establishing her closeness to her mother. Now how much fact and fiction goes on here I do not know as whilst I love Audrey Hepburn's movies I am not an expert on them or her personal life and from what I have read the facts are played about with to create more drama.

Emmy Rossum in The Audrey Hepburn Story (2000)

So that's what is basically covered in "The Audrey Hepburn Story" and the whole thing basically pivots around her making "Breakfast at Tiffany's" as a lot of what we watch appears as flashback to her past in between various takes. But here is my first gripe about "The Audrey Hepburn Story" because this feels like a movie made by people in awe of Audrey, in fact by people in love with Audrey. Now I am sure that Audrey Hepburn was a wonderful person but there is not a single ounce of nastiness to the way she is portrayed in this movie and it feels like someone has her on a pedestal and making her out to be saintly. It feels false and even in a scene where she breaks up with her boyfriend because she realises she wants the career she is so nice and he is so nice and everyone is so nice that it simply doesn't ring true.

Then there is the casting of Jennifer Love Hewitt given the impossible task of portraying not just Audrey Hepburn but dare I say this romanticized vision of Audrey. Now whilst there is not a single actress alive now or back in 2000 when this was made who has what Audrey Hepburn had; they may look like her and maybe able to imitate her but Audrey had something unique, something about her which was magical which cannot be recreated. So I feel for Jennifer Love Hewitt because she gives it her best, there are scenes when she gets it very right as do the cinematographers to make her look just like Audrey but there are a lot of scenes where it doesn't ring true. On a side note that is the same for a lot of the actors cast as famous people from Swede Swensson as Gregory Peck to Eric McCormack who does not look like the Mel Ferrer I remember.

So what does that mean when it comes to "The Audrey Hepburn Story"; well for those who put Audrey Hepburn on a pedestal will probably be angered by Jennifer Love Hewitt's casting as the icon. And those who are not only fans but know more than just her movies will probably be angered by the altering of facts as well as the fact that the movie portrays her as beyond perfect. And so my advice is if you want to watch "The Audrey Hepburn Story" do so but do so thinking more along the lines of a movie inspired by Audrey Hepburn and featuring as character of the same name because as a biopic it is too problematic.

What this all boils down to is that in truth "The Audrey Hepburn Story" should have never been made because Audrey Hepburn is too big of an icon to make a movie about and not offend at least half the audience. But whilst it is a movie with numerous issues in truth it is no worse than most biopics especially those which are made for TV.

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