As the whole world knows already, Breakfast at Tiffany’s, starring Audrey Hepburn, is my favourite movie. Ever. The Classical Hollywood Style of filmmaking has a way of taking me to an alternate universe, clearing my mind and giving me the feeling of being in love. I watch it whenever I’m blue, it makes me feel better in a second. The theme song of the movie “Moon River” is magical, above all. Maybe the most important reason why I am in love with the movie, is because I can relate to the main character, Holly Golightly, a lot. She’s everything I am, want to be and fear of being.
Holly, or Lula Mea, is a wild, wild thing; she doesn’t let anyone put her in a cage. She doesn’t want to be loved, or maybe she is just afraid of being in love. Maybe she’s afraid of losing her freedom of mind, her freedom of heart. She let the men come close, but she doesn’t let them in, ever. She plays and talks, sways and laughs, but she has no interest in those kind of things men want from her. She does not love them. Because love, is a scary thing. She attracts it but runs from it, she’s afraid to get caught up in it. She only loves herself; she’s everything she needs. To her, the problem of loving, starts with the need of belonging, of being defined, being owned and being captivated. It scares her, it scares me.
Paul Varjak: “I love you.”
Holly Golightly: “So what.”
Paul Varjak: “So what? So plenty! I love you, you belong to me!”
Holly Golightly: “[tearfully] No. People don’t belong to people.”
Paul Varjak: “Of course they do!”
Holly Golightly: “I’ll never let ANYBODY put me in a cage.”
Paul Varjak: “I don’t want to put you in a cage, I want to love you!”
Holly Golightly: “It’s the same thing!”
Holly’s sweet and sophisticated, mad and foolish, living in her own reality. She’s in a state of make-believe, holding on to memories and fantasies, blinded by her own vision and perspective on life. The world around her is static, conventional and full of snoops. She plays along with it and the people in it, but she never surrenders. She never lets anyone have control over her. She doesn’t let anyone own her. For a lot of reason she runs away from responsibilities and expectations. Which makes her spontaneous and unexpected, among her strength and fragility.
Holly Golightly: “What? Do you think you own me?”
Paul Varjak: “That’s exactly what I think.”
Holly Golightly: “I know. It’s what everybody always thinks but everybody happens to be wrong.”
Holly’s afraid at times and she doesn’t know what she’s afraid of. She’s haunted by the reds and gets easily lost in her feelings. Nothing but a visit to Tiffany’s calms her down.
Holly Golightly: “No. The blues are because you’re getting fat and maybe it’s been raining too long; you’re just sad, that’s all. The mean reds are horrible. Suddenly you’re afraid and you don’t know what you’re afraid of. Do you ever get that feeling? …Well, when I get it the only thing that does any good is to jump in a cab and go to Tiffany’s. Calms me down right away. The quietness and the proud look of it. Nothing very bad could happen to you there. If I could find a real-life place that’d make me feel like Tiffany’s, then — then I’d buy some furniture and give the cat a name!”
Hopeful as she is, her imagination has no limits. She’s free to go, going everywhere, she’s willing to leave it all behind. And she has done this a lot of times and she’s capable of doing it again. Even at times you least expect it.
Holly Golightly: “You musn’t give your heart to a wild thing. The more you do, the stronger they get, until they’re strong enough to run into the woods or fly into a tree. And then to a higher tree and then to the sky.”
And maybe she’s just lost. Maybe she has no clue who she is, who she’s been and who she wants to be. She’s always searching, looking for something more, something new and exciting.
Holly Golightly: “I’m not Holly. I’m not Lula Mae, either. I don’t know who I am! I’m like cat here, a couple of no-name slobs. We belong to nobody and nobody belongs to us. We don’t even belong to each other.”
And maybe I am afraid of committing and a lot of other things too. I don’t want to be owned, controlled, manipulated or losing my free will. Many of these things happen in love, isn’t it right? I know I may be sceptical and I know at the end, I will give in to love. But I am just scared… Holly, and me, know Paul’s right as he says:
“You know what’s wrong with you, Miss Whoever-you-are? You’re chicken, you’ve got no guts. You’re afraid to stick out your chin and say, “Okay, life’s a fact, people do fall in love, people do belong to each other, because that’s the only chance anybody’s got for real happiness.” You call yourself a free spirit, a “wild thing,” and you’re terrified somebody’s gonna stick you in a cage. Well baby, you’re already in that cage. You built it yourself. And it’s not bounded in the west by Tulip, Texas, or in the east by Somali-land. It’s wherever you go. Because no matter where you run, you just end up running into yourself.”
Dear Holly, I am just like you. Maybe we’re not afraid of love itself. Maybe we’re scared of the unknown and above all, of ourselves. We are constantly haunted by anxiety, the reds, and surrounded by the blues.