Funny Face

500 Movie Challenge: Funny Face

Funny FaceToday I have to speak about where I am in the Challenge: I’m exhausted.

This leg of the challenge is different than every other leg that has come before it. The closest thing that this could feel like is going to actual film school, based on what I know of it. I’m having to reschedule events and coordinate work in order to watch more movies. I’m learning so much. But my gosh, I had no idea how much time this would take up in my week. The amount of required time is extraordinary.

The gist: Funny Face is a pretty straightforward Golden Age musical, except for one little thing: Audrey Hepburn. She adds so much gravity to this whole ordeal, and I wish it was just all about her. But it’s all about her and her relationship with Fred Astaire. Don’t believe it? Neither does anyone else.

Audrey plays an attendant in an obscure book shop. She’s intelligent, grounded and the best kind of beatnik. She’s interested in philosophy, and dreams of going to Paris to chat with other intellectuals and learn more about different belief systems. But her shop is invaded by Fred Astaire and the head of the fashion magazine he works for. they want to do a photo shoot, and so they do. Audrey’s indignant, first with the invasion and then with Fred Astaire putting the moves on her and making her feel things. But soon he comes back with an offer: Come with the magazine to Paris and become the new It Girl. She’ll be able to fulfill all her intellectual dreams, modelling just being a means to an end. But of course, it isn’t. And of course, more feelings are felt.

Fred Astaire was 58 years old while filming this movie. Audrey Hepburn was 28. You can feel the eww in the air.

What I “learned”: Audrey Hepburn is such a good actress. Sure, she has a pretty face. But this film shows her off in such a beautiful way. Her talent just shines against the backdrop, which seems determined to peg her as just a pretty face. I think that just happens with people of talent. As much as you try to put them in a box, the more they shine outside of it. You can’t really keep talent down. That goes against its very nature. Talent cannot and will not be ignored.

See this movie if you like: Musicals who genuinely don’t give a f*ck about their format. This movie and Silk Stockings (filmed the same year) are very similar in this way. But while Silk Stockings was a Cold War film that satirized Communist Russia, this movie is outwardly aware of its fluffiness. There’s songs about how to be lovely, falling in love over and over, nonsensical dances centered around bullfighting, and just piles of Fred Astaire-centered dance porn. They must have known how ridiculous this movie was while filming it. They must have known.

Avoid this movie if: You need the musical numbers to propel the plot along at every turn. Like The King and I, this movie often gets caught up in the time these songs often demand. Which is sad, because both of these films have objectively interesting stories. If they only had formats that allowed for them to grow into something more complex, we’d have more interesting movies. But they are trapped, and because they are, they can only be beautiful collections of frames and scenes. Nothing more.

New Films Watched: 18

Films Re-Watched: 0

Total Number of Films: 18

poltergeist Princess Dread Movie Challenge

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