Starring: Jennifer Love Hewitt, Frances Fisher, Emmy Rossum
Director: Steven Robman
Running Time: 175 mins
The Audrey Hepburn Story is an American film about the life and career of one of the world’s most famous actresses, Audrey Hepburn, from childhood in war-torn Europe to stardom in Hollywood.
Audrey Hepburn’s life story is one of the most remarkable in Hollywood, so you’d expect any biopic retelling it to be just as remarkable. Unfortunately, The Audrey Hepburn Story isn’t so. It’s a perfectly well-meaning film, with heartfelt drama, a pleasant atmosphere and likable performances, but it runs for nearly three hours and only scrapes the surface of Hepburn’s real story, proving frustratingly dry and ultimately underwhelming.
Of course, it’s difficult to capture all the ups and downs of such a remarkable life in just one film, but this movie doesn’t really come close. Unlike enormous epics such as Gone With The Wind and War And Peace that detail the story of a life spectacularly, The Audrey Hepburn Story is a little too by-the-numbers, without delivering much more power than a theatrical Wikipedia page.
In that, The Audrey Hepburn Story is too linear in its narrative. It tries to bring a sense of reminiscence to the table by starting off in the ‘present’, that is the shooting of Breakfast At Tiffany’s in 1960, but the film for the most part follows a fairly uneventful trajectory through Hepburn’s life.
Although it starts strongly with riveting emotional depth and conflict in her early life, the film becomes a little too fixated on Hepburn’s effortless lovability, doing away with the real conflicts she faced all through her career, and instead getting a little lost in a Hollywood daydream.
Her childhood under the shadow of World War Two makes for captivating viewing. Meanwhile, there are elements of conflict and drama through the rest of the film, but for the most part it’s largely limited to one story line about her estranged father, and little else.
That said, there’s still something about this film that’s difficult not to love. It’s not a narrative masterpiece, and an underwhelming depiction of a remarkable life story, but it does at least capture the spirit of Audrey Hepburn, with a touching and soothing atmosphere throughout.
Jennifer Love Hewitt is lovely in the lead role, and despite a wobbly accent here and there, she’s a delightful incarnation of Hepburn to follow for three hours. Along with her performance, the film glides along with an elegant – if not slightly dry – style, while the score, costume and production design all work wonders to take you back to the Golden Age of Hollywood.
Overall, then, The Audrey Hepburn Story is, rather disappointingly, a bit of a mixed bag. To really learn and appreciate the legendary actress’ life story, the numerous documentaries out there are far more worth your time, as this film doesn’t really tap into the most fascinating and dramatic elements of her life despite its significant runtime.
However, for all its faults, this is still an enjoyable, engaging biopic. It’s not an epic or particularly moving story of what is a remarkable life, but it does capture the spirit of Audrey Hepburn well, with a soothing atmosphere bolstered by heartfelt emotion, as well as a lovely lead performance from Jennifer Love Hewitt. And that’s why I’m giving The Audrey Hepburn Story a 7.0.