Starring: Audrey Hepburn, Gary Cooper, Maurice Chevalier
Director: Billy Wilder
Running Time: 130 mins
Love In The Afternoon is an American film about the young daughter of a private detective in Paris, who begins a secret second life with a middle-aged playboy, who becomes intrigued by her mystery and allure.
This is a funny and interesting romance. It’s full of great laughs, it’s got a brilliant screenplay courtesy of writer-director Billy Wilder and I.A.L Diamond, and an intriguingly mysterious but entertaining central romance, whilst strong performances from Audrey Hepburn, Gary Cooper and Maurice Chevalier help this to be an overall very solid film. However, the story is a little bit strange and unconvincing in places due to one glaring problem.
Let’s start with that big problem. Don’t get me wrong, I enjoyed this film, and was perfectly convinced by the romance that unfolds between Audrey Hepburn and Gary Cooper’s characters. However, with an age gap of nearly 30 years, and consequently somewhat wooden on-screen chemistry, it’s occasionally a little difficult to be fully engrossed by this romance. If you manage to put the weird age difference aside, it’s perfectly entertaining, however, for me, there remained a slightly unnerving little feeling in the back of my mind throughout.
Apart from that, however, this film is a lot of fun and very interesting. The romance is very simple, and it’s particularly funny to see Audrey Hepburn’s young character attempt to give off this air of mystery in her ‘other life’ with this playboy, seeing as we know her real background, however her desire to be involved with this elder man is still interesting, as we see her want to escape from the relatively boring life she lives at home.
Also, to see Gary Cooper, playing a suave, rich middle-aged playboy, be undermined by this young girl is pretty funny too. He tries to play it cool throughout, as does she, and there’s a continual theme of giving off false impressions, which makes for both hilarious and dramatic results that make this story even more engrossing.
One thing that I was surprised by in this film was just how farcical it was. Billy Wilder’s other collaboration with Audrey Hepburn, Sabrina, also noted for its weird romantic age gaps, was a little bit too serious and romance-oriented for my liking. So, going into this, with a relatively similar premise to Sabrina, I expected to be interested, but not entertained so much, however there’s a great deal of farce like some of Wilder’s other famous films (i.e. The Seven Year Itch and Some Like It Hot), and I laughed a lot from start to finish.
So, overall, this gets a 7.8, because despite having what can be interpreted as a bit of a creepy and distracting age gap between the two love interests, this film is still funny and intriguing enough to keep you entertained throughout.