I just finished watching Breakfast at Tiffany’s and it was wonderful! I love the concept it shows so languidly, the struggle between individual freedom and relationships. On one hand, there is Holly : scared of being tied down by anyone or anything and believing that by not attaching herself to anyone, she is securing her individual freedom. We see signs of it in the beginning and find out by the end of the movie, that she is afraid to belong to any person or any place. On the other hand, there is the charming writer Paul Varjak who falls in love with her. He is the epitome of stability and consistency as opposed to her.
Her deep rooted fear is hinted at by the cat she owns– who she keeps in the apartment but does not name, always claiming that the cat is not her own. She is so dreadfully against the idea of being rooted to a place, person or thing that she does not even acknowledge the cat as her own! She loves New York but she has not found a home yet. She wants to find a place in the world where she feels entirely safe– like the Tiffany’s store. The Tiffany’s store is her happy place; she goes to the store every time she feels upset and being there, the security, orderliness, luxury and stability of it cheers her up every time. She feels that nothing so bad can happen when she is at Tiffany’s. The outside world is harsh and this place is a source of comfort to her, her escape. Tiffany’s is an expensive place. She doesn’t find her comfort in a quaint little coffee store or a flower garden, but it is the diamonds that attract her. Throughout the movie, we see how much she is ready to give up for the sake of money. She feels she must be rich to be happy– as if her place of ultimate happiness and security must be lavish.
Holly gives the narrator Paul an antique bird cage as a Christmas gift. Although she appreciates its fascinating nature, she simply can’t bear to see anything in a cage. Holly never wants to be caged by another person or place. She never wants to feel like she can’t just pick and go when the mood strikes her, and the birdcage represents the confinement she fights so hard against. She refers to herself as the “Wild Thing”, never to be tamed, never to belong. It might be beautiful and momentarily desirable, but the narrator explains to her that by trying so hard to be free- she is not allowing herself to be attached to anyone, even when she feels deeply for the person; by trying to be free- she is caging herself in a birdcage of her own making. It is a cage she has built around herself and carries with herself wherever she goes. This cage will ultimately lead her jumping from one place to another in search of happiness but never allow her to settle down somewhere and really reach it. I love the concept, the story and Audrey Hepburn. I consider this “A must watch!”.
It makes me remember the numerous times I have questioned myself about the boundaries between individual freedom and being in a relationship, belonging to someone and the numerous times I have acted rashly because I was afraid of being rooted down by someone, of not being free. These are the fears that ruin the chance of finding real happiness, as Paul puts it.