Thursday, September 10, 2009

Breakfast at Tiffany's: Movie vs. Book

Breakfast at Tiffany's by Truman Capote
Breakfast at Tiffany's with Audrey Hepburn and George Peppard

Breakfast at Tiffany’s (both the book and the movie) is basically about Holly Golightly and her search to find a millionaire to marry and the whirlwind that is her life as she goes along drawing other people in with her.

Holly is blunt, sometimes crude and unapologetically a user. But people are drawn to her and the reader is too. Capote manages to write her so she is still likable and sympathetic. Much of that is maintained in the movie but the Holly of the movie is more innocent and less harsh. She comes off as less of a schemer and more someone who these things just happen to.

Paul (he doesn’t have a name in the book so I will use his movie name) narrates the book and is just there to tell Holly’s story. He watches from the outside mostly and never really takes part. He gets a bigger part in the movie but it is still Holly’s story. He takes a backseat and seems sometimes just to be there to have an outside look at Holly’s life. Unlike almost everything else Paul seems harder in the movie than the book, or maybe just a little more jaded.

The book is harsher and has more rough edges than the movie. It is a darker story all the way around than the movie. The movie is lighter, sweeter, and nicer somehow. The book can still be fun but is certainly not as happy.

After reading the book I was a little disappointed that the bartender didn’t make an appearance in the movie because I thought he was a good character and gave another view into Holly’s life. But with all the other changes that were made he really wouldn’t fit in the movie so maybe it was better they didn’t try to force him in the story.

There are important parts that are different in the movie but some scenes were taken almost word for word from the book and it is odd to see how close they can be and how different at the same time. Because I saw the movie first I kept seeing Audrey Hepburn in the role of Holly in my head no matter how many times she was described as someone totally different.

They are both good stories but they are in many ways different stories. I think in the end I actually liked the movie better. Partly, I’m sure, because I like Audrey Hepburn but also because it is happier. I never thought of myself as a sucker for happy endings but in this case I think I have to face the fact that I wanted things to work out in a movie magic sort of way. They are both worth a look and I enjoyed them both. And in an unusual occurrence in a book to movie deal I didn’t feel the movie had ruined the book, or feel disappointed in the book after liking the movie so much.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

I feel the same way! It was interesting to see how some scenes were word for word, but I definitely liked the movie better mostly because of the happy ending.