Wednesday, 25 December 2013


The remake of Sabrina has long lived in my heart. It was a wintry afternoon and we had just had Austar installed. Dad called me into the lounge to tell me this movie was showing, and it basically changed my life.

In case you missed the original, Sabrina is a Pygmalion story about a girl who lives above the garage of her father's rich employees. She is madly in love with the family's playboy, David Larabee. David has a different girlfriend each week, but he is witty, charming, funny and romantic. He doesn't turn up to work for the Larabee Corporation, the family business ran by his brother. On her last night before beginning an exchange trip to Paris, Sabrina watches David seduce another woman. After being called down from her favourite tree, where she has been spying on him, her dad assures her that her time away will be good for her, and that there is much more to her than this obsession.

All the same, Sabrina drinks a whole heap of sherry, runs up to David's room and delivers a monologue, concluding with "and if there is anything I can ever do..." Unfortunately, Linus, David's older brother and the head of the business is the recipient of the monologue and Sabrina runs away, mortified.

While in Paris, Sabrina does forget all about David, and suddenly becomes tres chic. She turns her angst and obsession into creative works, namely "writing nonsense in a journal" and taking photographs. She returns to America as a modern and beautiful woman, just the type David Larabee would love... if he wasn't engaged to be married to the daughter of a family firm the Larabee Corporation is merging with. David makes the moves on Sabrina despite all this.

Enter Linus. He tries to buy Sabrina out of her attraction to David, and when that doesn't work, he attempts to seduce her instead. Over the course of a few days, Sabrina realises she is in love with the wrong Larabee.

I said at the beginning of the post that Sabrina really did change my life. For one, it was probably one of the first movies Dad and I watched together and I have always loved it when Dad has announced a movie is on I would enjoy. This movie is about transformation - my favourite subplot. But in changing dramatically, Sabrina both lost and gained a lot. She was happy to call Paris her hometown and enjoyed living somewhere so different. She constantly acknowledged the change in her life from being in Paris, and what her time away meant to her. I never really wanted to go to Paris, but I always wanted to come back and command the respect Sabrina did.

The other thing is that Sabrina's world recognised all the mistakes the characters made, and it was somehow okay. Everyone wanted the best solution to the problem - there was a merger and Sabrina got in the way - and it happened so smoothly. This isn't real life, but we all love a plausible twist.

Did Sabrina choose the right Larabee? I have always questioned this until recently, and I hadn't really noticed that Sabrina's monologue was revisited at the end of the film. This is truly worth waiting for.

I came here from Provence... alone, uneducated. For eight months- no, more than that- a year, I sat in a cafe, I drank coffee, 
and I wrote nonsense in a journal. And then, somehow, it was not nonsense. 
I went for long walks and I met myself in Paris. 
You seem embarrassed by loneliness; by being alone. It's only a place to start. 
(Irene's advice about Paris)