“Failure is the condiment that gives success its flavor.” – Truman Capote
I have a tendency to find classic and iconic films overrated the first time I see them. It’s something about the ways that the quotable lines and celebrated visual shots have been assimilated into popular culture to the point of being clichés. I’m too familiar with them going in and so they seem understated compared to what I go into the film expecting. It happened the first time I saw Casablanca though I later grew to greatly appreciate, if not exactly love, the film. Another film I had a similar reaction to was Breakfast at Tiffany’s. Now that I’ve read the story on which the movie is based, I understand better what the hype was about, though I still think the film is overrated (especially given how much the tale was altered in the film version).
Holly Golightly’s nonconformity is far more endearing and radical on the page. As beautifully as Audrey Hepburn portrayed her, she only minimally resembles the Holly in Capote’s original (at least as far as I’m concerned; I may need to endure rewatching the film before continuing in greater detail along that train of thought). Perhaps it’s just the passage of time and an increased awareness, but in the story itself, the ways that Holly pushes back against the ways the men in her life try to pigeonhole her or force their interpretations onto her is more prominent. While I think my favorite piece of Capote’s writing will be In Cold Blood and the way he was able to create the modern True-Crime genre, Breakfast at Tiffany’s wasn’t as insufferable to read as my experience with the film had led me to think it would be.