Sabrina - A Fair Remake
As the daughter of the Larrabee chauffeur Sabrina Fairchild (Julia Ormond - Legends of the Fall) has grown up watching all their parties from her secret spot in the trees whilst mooning over David Larrabee (Greg Kinnear - Green Zone) the bachelor brother of business minded Linus (Harrison Ford - Clear and Present Danger). When Sabrina goes to Paris to work David meets and gets engaged to Elizabeth Tyson (Lauren Holly) the daughter of a wealthy businessman whose business would be a perfect merger for Linus Larrabee. When Sabrina returns an attractive and confident young woman she immediately grabs David's attention much to Linus's concern who fears if David is swayed it will destroy the business merger so decides to date Sabrina to stop David. Except having no plans other than to prevent a business catastrophe Linus suddenly finds himself falling for Sabrina.
One of he funniest things I ever read was a whole hearted condemnation of the 1995 version of "Sabrina" for being a poor, pointless movie which is not a patch on the 1954 version of "Sabrina". In truth that sort of comment is not unusual when it comes to remakes as fans of the original feel protective about it whilst not understanding the intentions of the remake. So with "Sabrina" in mind let me state my opinion, no this 1995 version doesn't have the class or glamour of the original but what it has is the 90s romantic comedy vibe which would appeal to a 90s audience. And with that in mind "Sabrina" works with its cast which features Julia Ormond, Greg Kinnear and Harrison Ford it has the easy going charm and romantic humour which was specific to 90s romantic comedies.
Now what took me aback was the homage to the 1954 original movie and story which are kept and whilst some might find it just a poor imitation things such as a scene in the opening credits featuring an indoor tennis court and David's way with champagne and champagne flutes made me smile. But then at the same time it manages to bring the story up to date from Sabrina's reason to go to France to the technology which the Larrabee Corporation is involved in. It is a nicely reworked script which makes it familiar for those who watched the original but also fresh.
But the big difference between this version of "Sabrina" and the original is style with the original having class and glamour where this has easy going romance and fun. It is why on one had it does feel inferior to the original but yet at the same time it works because trying to recreate the class and glamour of the original would have just made it a week imitation. But it is why it also works as a mid 90s product, delivering the easy going sweet romance and comedy which would appeal to those who enjoyed the likes of "Four Weddings and a Funeral".
The issue of class and glamour extends to the cast as whilst Julia Ormond, Greg Kinnear and Harrison Ford all play their parts well, especially Harrison Ford they do not have what the original cast had. Take Julia Ormond who as Sabrina is very appealing and has a lightness about her but it is not up there with that air of magic which Audrey Hepburn had about her. Yet in a way it is right that Ormond brings something slightly different to her characterisation of Sabrina because by trying to do what Hepburn did would have ended up a poor imitation.
What this all boils down to is that "Sabrina" the 1995 version works not only as an update on the 1954 original but more importantly as a 90's romantic comedy. But it is a movie made for a different crowd to those who loved the original and as such has a different style and tone which probably won't suit everyone who enjoyed the original.