It is easy to be sucked in by the haute allure of Holly Golightly as she walks down 5th avenue, adorned in diamonds, danish in tow; but you’d be mistaken if you thought her to be anything like the real life Hepburn or even the character she portrays.
Golightly is not Hepburn, the two are worlds apart.
Now I’m not saying it is wrong for anybody to aspire to be like Holly, she has many adhering qualities, I just feel that it is important she not idolised blindly.
Coined an ‘American Geisha girl’ by Capote himself, Holiday Golightly may not have been a call girl exactly but she had no qualms relying on men to finance her lavish lifestyle in exchange for her ‘company.’
Marilyn Monroe (Capote’s first choice of actress) was advised against the role, fearing these call girl connotations would jeopardise her public image. As a result Paramount pictures played down the character. Suddenly Holly was no longer a marijuana smoking teen bride who’s only true relationship was with her equally dysfunctional gay neighbour; that’s right people, it’s not even a love story.
The narrator, or ‘Fred’, is in my opinion representative of Capote himself and his non-sexual perception of the ‘manic pixie dream girl’ he was fascinated with. He was not there to save this charmingly naïve and eccentric young woman as the film suggests. If anything she destroys him.
Although I personally think Golightly to be fickle, immature and a shirker of her responsibilities, I have no doubt that she is a credible and highly recognizable literary figure in her own right. She manages to ooze determination and unwillingness to conform, all of which she does with a contradictory air of pretentiousness.
When the movie was released women everywhere tried to emulate her style and lifestyle alike. The sale of the little black dress escalated, as did the demand for ginger tomcats. It seemed the boundaries between the Image and the character had become blurred.
Holly is perhaps one of those ethereal characters that we, much like the narrator, are fascinated by despite our better judgement; and her complexities may well have been an expression of Capote’s confusion for the society he had loved.