For some, the romantic comedy genre is seen as a sub-par form of cinema, panned because of the genre’s overuse of certain tropes and heavy reliance on cliché. For most, romcoms are pure escapism, a way to look at the world through rose-colored glasses and romance with a healthy dose of laughter and charm. These films are often populated with big stars and charisma and charm is a must. Maybe that’s why Sabrina works so well as a romantic comedy. Not only are the lead actors charismatic and charming, they’re also beautiful and handsome. It’s a bonus that Sabrina happens to also be well written.
Sabrina Fairchild (Julia Ormond) is the daughter of a chauffeur who works for the prominent Larrabee family in upper Long Island, New York. A transplant from England, she’s lived there her entire life and has harbored unreciprocated love for the youngest Larrabee son David (Greg Kinnear) for a very long time. Her father sends her to Paris to work for two years for Vogue in the hopes that she will stop pining for David and start living a normal life. When she returns, made over and confident in herself, David takes immediate notice of her. Unfortunately, David is meant to be marrying Dr. Elizabeth Tyson (Lauren Holly) and Linus (Harrison Ford) has manipulated a merger based on the marriage. Only now, Sabrina stands in the way of all his hard work. What follows is a plan to get Sabrina out of the way, only Linus isn’t expecting to fall in love with her.
Sabrina is a remake of the 1954 film of the same name written by Billy Wilder and starring Humphrey Bogart, Audrey Hepburn, and William Holden. I’ve never had the pleasure of seeing the Wilder written movie but if it’s anything like this film, it’s sure to be a hit. Ormond and Ford crackle with chemistry but so does Ormond and Kinnear and it makes it hard for the audience to decide who should be the better match for Sabrina. However, the film makes it quite clear that Linus is the match for the budding photographer and they’re really a match for each other.
The writing by Barbara Benedek and David Rayfiel is sparkling and engaging. Of course, most of the heavy hitting falls to Ormond and Ford and both carry the script well. Ford should have been in more comedy films. His timing is impeccable, and his wit is on full display. I remain under the full belief that he could have chemistry with a tree. That’s just how charismatic he is, and he plays off Ormond’s more subdued beauty and charm well. Kinnear and Ford also go toe-to-toe with ease and neither overshadows the other.
Basically, Sabrina is the perfect remake. Though perfection often doesn’t exist in Hollywood cinema, Ford, Ormond, Kinnear, Benedek, Rayfiel, and director Sydney Pollack manage to update an old classic and turn it into something magical and endearing.
Shelby is currently adapting her favorite novel into a screenplay as well as toying around with a few spec scripts for a few of her favorite TV shows. She hopes to walk down the red carpet at the Emmys one day. She contributes a long list of actors, writers, friends and co-workers as the inspiration for her dreams and goals.
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