Common Sense Media says
What parents need to know
Parents Need to Know
Parents need to know that characters drink at parties and at meals. There is some cursing, and David takes a swing at his older brother. However, these incidents are relatively mild. The efforts by Linus and Maude Larrabee to maintain their family fortune and advance the family business are much more suspect. At one point, Linus requests that David, hospitalized after an accident, be kept heavily sedated to prevent him from causing problems.
What's the story?
Once upon a time there was a chauffeur's daughter named Sabrina (Julia Ormond). Growing up above the garage at the Larrabee estate, Sabrina worships the family's youngest son David (Greg Kinnear), from afar. After going to Paris and ditching the glasses, Sabrina returns a beautiful swan. In spite of David's upcoming marriage to the daughter of an important business partner, she continues to adore him. When the tables are turned, his business-minded brother Linus (Harrison Ford) intervenes to set things right. Despite his type-A heart, Linus winds up falling for Sabrina as well. The brothers duke it out and in a predictable ending, the right brother wins.
Is it any good?
Based on Billy Wilder's 1954 film by the same name, SABRINA has few, if any surprises. The best parts are of the Larrabees' sumptuous social gatherings, which could well be taken from a happier version of The Great Gatsby. There is technically nothing wrong with the film, but it does drag at points.
Director Sydney Pollack does an adequate job of updating the 1950s fairytale. Julia Ormond is delightful in the title role. John Wood, as her father, does equally well. Unfortunately, neither Greg Kinnear nor Harrison Ford manage to create a character that is worthy of Sabrina's affection. Despite its lack of chemistry, the movie manages to be cute, if uninspired.
Families can talk about...
Families can talk about the problems of class raised by the movie. Although Linus insists "this is the 90s" and his efforts to derail David's growing romance with Sabrina supposedly has little to do with her being the chauffeur's daughter, class remains a sticky issue. Why does the film pay little attention to Sabrina's ambitions, instead suggesting that her only means for real advancement involves marrying up? What reasons might there be for Sabrina loving Linus Larrabee aside from his money? How does Linus's greed and obsession with work keep him from being happy?