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Parents' Guide to

Breakfast at Tiffany's

By Nell Minow, Common Sense Media Reviewer

age 13+

Fab, but drinking, smoking, and an outdated caricature.

Movie NR 1961 115 minutes
Breakfast at Tiffany's Poster Image

A Lot or a Little?

What you will—and won't—find in this movie.

Community Reviews

age 12+

Based on 10 parent reviews

age 12+
I'm 14 and obsessed with Audrey Hepburn. If you like the 60s, then I definitely recommend this one because it's one of the most iconic movies ever. There's hardly anything mature, except a couple smoking scenes, cuddling, and one scene in a strip club (no nudity). I love this movie so much and I highly recommend for anyone from 12-13.
age 12+

All is Well that Ends Well

This is an unusual movie in many ways. It introduces the world to a young George Peppard who plays Paul Varjak - a strikingly handsome, understated, and charming fledgling writer dependent on the largesse of a matronly and married lover (played by Patricia Neal). Audrey Hepburn plays his love interest Holly Golightly. Both are somewhat hollowed souls because of their life choices. Varjak's adulterous entanglement is matched - to an extent - by Golightly's tacit role as a messenger between an imprisoned mob boss and his consiglieri (and lieutenants) as well as her very calculated attempts at gold-digging her way up the socio-economic ladder. That they come to know each other is quite fortunate for both because they find themselves embracing true love. However, there are problems with this movie. We find that, in fact, Golightly was once married to a much older veterinarian (played by Buddy Ebsen) who appears to have married her as a juvenile after taking her and her brother in. Furthermore, Golightly as a young girl is described as an uncultured Texas bred wild thing who eventually metamorphoses into a sophisticate in the manner of My Fair Lady. It is, quite simply, a bridge too far. The dissonance it created in my mind just never went away. Next, although she is arrested for her part in a crackdown of the mob, she still insists on meeting her hopefully future husband from Brazil whose high political ambitions would be in great jeopardy if the people of Brazil knew of her criminal activities. This shows her obvious lack of judgement. However, the fact that Hepburn was nominated for an Academic Award as Best Actress is a testament to her brilliance as an actress in spite of the movie's obvious and almost unforgivable flaws.

Is It Any Good?

Our review:
Parents say (10 ):
Kids say (12 ):

The things Holly says might sound tawdry from most people, but Audrey Hepburn manages to make it seem as though she found it all a delicious adventure. She tries hard to protect herself from her feelings, categorizing all the men she considers possible partners for her as "rats and super rats," planning to marry a man she does not love, refusing to give Cat a real name, trying to create a world for herself that is a perpetual Tiffany's, where "nothing bad could happen to you." She does give way entirely when Fred is killed in an outpouring of real emotion that scares away the man she is cultivating.

Paul sees this because it parallels his own experience. He once cared about writing, but as the movie opens, he's given up any notion of personal or artistic integrity to allow himself to be kept by a wealthy woman. His relationship with her is his way of protecting himself from taking the risk of feeling deeply, as an artist or as a man. Paul and Holly understand each other, and that understanding makes them ashamed of the hypocrisy of their lives. Holly describes "the mean reds" as "suddenly you're afraid, and you don't know what you're afraid of." Everyone has this feeling from time to time, but it resonates particularly with teenagers, who are experiencing more volatile and complex emotions than any they have known before, and who tend to conclude that since they are new to them, they have never been felt before. Breakfast at Tiffany's provides a good opportunity to talk about those feelings and strategies for handling them.

Movie Details

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