Review: Audrey (2020)

Audrey (2020)

Directed by: Helena Coan | 100 minutes | documentary, biography | Starring: Audrey Hepburn, Richard Dreyfuss, Emma Hepburn Ferrer, Sean Hepburn Ferrer, Clare Waight Keller, Edith Lederer, Mita Ungaro, Andrew Wald, Michael Avedon, Keira Moore, Francesca Hayward, Alessandra Ferri, Robin Ager

Audrey Kathleen Ruston was born on May 4, 1929 in Brussels. Her parents meet in Indonesia; her mother was the Dutch Baroness Ella de Heemstra and her father was the British Joseph Victor Anthony Ruston. Audrey Ruston later became known as Audrey Hepburn. Helena Coan’s documentary ‘Audrey’ gives a pretty complete picture of the life and career of the legendary actress.

Whether you only know ‘Breakfast at Tiffany’s’, ‘My Fair Lady’, ‘Roman Holiday’ or any of her other well-known films, or maybe you’ve never watched a movie starring the Oscar-winning actress, chances are you’ve never loved it. heard her or saw her likeness. Even more than three decades after her death (January 20, 1993) and her last appearance in a film (“Always,” 1989, Steven Spielberg) Audrey Hepburn is still an icon. Her style and elegance, her talent and charm, still impress people all over the world on a daily basis. She was and is a great source of inspiration.

The documentary ‘Audrey’ contains many archival footage, photographs and films from private collections and interviews with, among others, her eldest son Sean Hepburn Ferrer, her granddaughter Emma Hepburn Ferrer (who never knew her grandmother), close friends and people with whom she came into contact professionally. came (Peter Bogdanovich, Richard Dreyfuss, film critic Molly Haskell). For fans, the documentary will not bring too much news.

The early years of Audrey’s life are discussed in depth: how she spent the Second World War in Arnhem, how hunger and poverty also marked her life during her successful years, her dreams of becoming a ballet dancer and the difficult (read: virtually absent) bond with her father, who left the family when Audrey was only six years old.

But the rest of her life – career and private life – is also covered extensively, with wonderful clips, not only from her films, but also from, for example, the “Tonight Show”, Audrey’s Oscar speech and her work for UNICEF. There is sufficient attention for her influence on fashion: her Givenchy dresses for example, or the iconic, there that word again, but really applies here, dress from ‘Breakfast at Tiffany’s’. It remains unclear what the idea was behind the choice of three different ballet dancers (Keira Moore, Francesca Hayward, Alessandra Ferri) to portray Audreys different stages in her life and thus provide the documentary with a dramatic layer. Not only does it distract, it adds nothing: we would much rather have seen extra scenes from her work. But that is a conscious choice: in ‘Audrey’ the focus is not on her work, but Coan mainly documents the life of the woman who died too young – because Audrey’s work was not the most important for herself either.

Helena Coan makes no bones about the fact that she adores her subject; there is not a bad word about the actress. Everything she touched turns to gold. That is a pitfall that many biographical documentaries fall into. Of course there was a lot of sadness in her life, but it was beyond her influence (her parents were fascists, her marriage to Mel Ferrer broke down, and her second marriage failed because Dr. Andrea Dotti had numerous affairs with younger women). The lack of a counterpoint is a pity, but not insurmountable. All in all, ‘Audrey’ is definitely worth a look for those who want to know more about one of the last actresses from Hollywood’s Golden Age.

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