Fairy Tale Blogathon: Sabrina (1995)

I’m so happy and thankful to participate in this awesome blogathon created and hosted by Fritizi Kramer at her awesome site, Movies SilentlyBeauty and the Beast is one of my favorite fairytales. It stars Belle, and I’ve had the privilege of seeing the original French film the Disney animated film was very loosely based off. Unfortunately, I found out about the blogathon late enough that someone had already selected every possible Beauty and the Beast-based film, that I almost decided not to participate. However, neither the 1954 nor 1995 Sabrina films, paying homage to Cinderella, had been selected yet. I had heard from a few people that they preferred the remake over the original, so I chose that movie, looking forward to being introduced to something new. And truly, the film didn’t disappoint.

Sabrina (1995) doesn’t exactly mirror the beloved animated Disney film, but it has all the bearings necessary to make it a fairytale without it getting into too corny of material. Julia Ormond plays Sabrina Fairchild, the Cinderella of the story. She’s highly relatable as the girl with a crush who simply has no impression of the man of her dreams . . . at the beginning. But after a trip to Paris to forget the man she’s convinced she’s in love with, she returns home with a new look, a new understanding of self, and wave of confidence.

As the chauffeur’s daughter of David Larrabee (Greg Kinnear) and his family, the man who she’s trying to look past, Sabrina is settled on moving forward with her life after returning home. But David and Sabrina share a meet cute when David notices Sabrina at the train station returning home, and unbeknownst to him, Sabrina is this gorgeous woman without a ride in need of his services. As David drives Sabrina home, he begs her to reveal her identity. Sabrina enjoys this newfound attention from the man she never seemed to be able to convince to notice her; that is, until they arrive home and David’s older brother, Linus (Harrison Ford), abruptly interrupts their conversation and announces that it’s Sabrina.

But the plot truly doesn’t thicken until later that evening when Sabrina falls under David’s spell David falls under Sabrina’s spell and announces to his mother and Linus that he no longer wants to be with Elizabeth Tyson, the woman to whom he is engaged. But it’s not just an engagement David would be breaking: it’s a billion-dollar merger forged between the Larrabees and the Tysons, if David were to snub Elizabeth, and thus the Tyson family’s company, with whom the merger was formed. As the calculating, business-only brother he is, Linus sees the situation as an opportunity: deceive Sabrina into liking him, convince David to stay with Elizabeth, and ultimately keep the billion-dollar merger in tack.

For a movie considered within the romantic genre, occasionally gesturing to the story of Cinderella, Sabrina contains a well-formed plot that while it moves a little slow in some parts, ultimately fits under the classic love-story scenario, and is driven home with three strong performances that pull at viewers’s heartstrings throughout.

Paris is used as the “place to get away,” the place to find one’s self, and it works so well in Sabrina. While she struggles to adjust to her short time away in a new place, Sabrina eventually makes friends, learns photography, and finds her place in Paris. It becomes the place that she looks back at fondly and loves, and it fully confirms what many Americans have always believed about Paris: it’s always a place to get away.

Harrison Ford plays Harrison Ford, but he does it so well under the guise of “Linus Larrabee,” that it’s easy to forgive him for playing a version of himself. The chemistry he shares with Julia Ormond is played convincingly, that you know from the moment they meet and he insults her – and she tells him that she knows what he’s doing – that they’ll certainly end up together, even if Cinderella’s story was significantly sweeter in nature. I really enjoyed Greg Kinnear’s performance as the playboy younger brother David who lacked all the responsibility in the world, but relied wholly on his heart to lead him from one woman to another. The contrast between Linus’s and David’s personality and actions is played out so well on screen, and it seems that only Sabrina is best able to point out each man’s lack of balance between work and play. The lines are blurred among the three titular characters when Linus can’t deny his attraction to Sabrina, and in David discovering his brother really isn’t “the only living heart donor,” David realized he must put on his suit, find where his office is, and play the responsible, logical brother in order to keep the merger in play and rescue his brother’s heart from breaking.

While I didn’t automatically think “Cinderella” when I was watching Sabrina, I did appreciate small cues here and there, such as Sabrina playing the role of a poor, unknown girl, the parties the Larabees threw feeling like the ball Cinderella never got invited to, and the sparkles in the gorgeous shrug Sabrina wore when she showed up to her first ball, earning the compliment of “dazzling” from David. And while Linus isn’t necessary a prince who rescues Sabrina, he does get to be in that overused scene in movies where there’s so much traffic, one is forced to run to said location in order to make it in time. And in time, he makes it to Paris, where Sabrina and he kiss to the fairytale ending of happily ever after.

Of course, Sabrina was one of the best movies I’ve seen that had a fairytale flair on an altogether overdone character story, but its most touching moments were aided greatly with an Oscar-nominated score composed by the legendary John Williams. And while it didn’t strike critics who couldn’t help but compare it the original film, I gladly give Sabrina 

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1/2 EYES ON SCREEN
.

 

Huge thanks again to Fritizi for creating and hosting this fun event! Please do check out her post that links to all those participating in the Fairy Tale Blogathon.

It’s your turn now. Have you seen Sabrina, or its original counterpart? What were your thoughts on the film? Please join in the discussion below, because I would love to know your thoughts.

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19 thoughts on “Fairy Tale Blogathon: Sabrina (1995)

    • Aww, thanks, Fritizi! I was so happy to participate in this, and I got to see an awesome movie thanks to your blogathon. I can totally understand why you’d have a soft spot for this film! It’s lovely.

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    • Wow, that seems to be the common theme around here! I’m curious to check out the original, but I’ll probably give it some time since I just enjoyed this one. Thanks for stopping by the site, Michele! I appreciate it.

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  1. Very cool write-up Kristen, educational even! I had no idea there were sort of Cinderalla-esque films out there. I mean, yeah I did but. . . .you know what I mean. There are films that are made to look and feel just like the classic version that came before, almost like ‘cheap knockoffs.’ And then there are those that take some element of a classic and recreate something new. This is the latter. I will have to definitely check this out. Sabrina, you say?

    Interesting.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Haha, hey there, Tom! You crack me up. It was such a fun blogathon to participate in. I totally get what you mean – I didn’t even realize it either. I’ve heard that many people have enjoyed the film over the past couple decades (can you believe 1995 was 19 years ago!), but I didn’t realize it was it’s own movie that was more like paying homage to the Cinderella theme.

      I know there’s a BILLION movies on yours and my “I’m so going to check that movie out when I have time, which is never, but I hope it happens somehow” list. Sabrina is a good one to watch if you’re in the mood for romance or you’re on a date, or you just want to see Harrison Ford. It’s a lovely film. Hope you enjoy it!

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  2. I LOVE LOVE this movie!! Glad you picked this Kris. I actually love this remake more than the original, everything about it just works. I like the casting, set pieces, direction, and the gorgeous music! “Harrison Ford plays Harrison Ford” Ha! Very true but I actually find him endearing as a hard-hearted tycoon who slowly learns to *listen to his heart* so to speak. He’s very believable in that role whilst Kinear is charming in a goofy kind of way. I LOVE Ormond as Sabrina, she’s so gorgeous and lovely that it’s believable the two guys fall for her. They did a good job making her look frumpy in the beginning too. So yeah, it’s a very sweet fairy-tale-ish drama that I don’t mind watching again and again.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Definitely got lucky in getting to pick such a fun, sweet film! My sister says the same thing about liking this remake more than the original. I know – the music is absolutely gorgeous in this film; I couldn’t agree more.

      Yeah, you get to see a more vulnerable side to Harrison Ford, and I think it’s just enough to make viewers truly care about his happiness too. I like how you can’t always tell whether he’s acting the part of “villain” or really just falling for her. The lines are blurred so well, and Harrison handles it perfectly.

      I can understand why you enjoy this film so much! I’m definitely adding the DVD to my Christmas list this year, haha.

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  3. I’ve only seen the original, which I adore because I’m love Audrey Hepburn. I was always hesitant to give the remake a try, but your review made me want to check it out! So thanks! And love your blog! 🙂

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    • Hey there! Thanks so much for visiting the site. I can’t tell you how much your kind words mean to me!

      I do like Audrey Hepburn, too, although I’ve heard from a handful of people that the remake is better. Of course, it’s all subjective, so I’ll need to check it out to decide for myself. I’m glad my review has made you want to check out the remake! Your comment makes me want to check out the original. Perhaps we can exchange notes afterwards, haha. Thanks so much for your kind words!

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      • You’re very welcome! I love the classics, so I think that’s why I was holding off watching the remake, especially since Audrey Hepburn is so iconic in the role (that gorgeous white dress with the black flower outlining). And sometimes, for me, the remakes aren’t as good. But I should give it a shot at least. Once I see it, I’ll report back! 🙂

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  4. I think some people are uncomfortable with the original because Humphrey Bogart (55) was so much older looking than Audrey Hepburn (25). In the newer version, Harrison Ford (47) did not look so much older than Julia Ormond (30). My daughter is a huge Audrey Hepburn fan, so I have seen the first version more times, but I enjoyed them both. Thank you for sharing with all of us.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Hi there, Joe! Thanks so much for your comment. Wow, I didn’t realize the age difference between the two actors in either films! I heard that Bogart wasn’t a big fan of Hepburn, but I don’t really have any information to verify that. I do like Hepburn as well, so I definitely want to check out the original. I’m glad you enjoy both! I was definitely pleasantly surprised with how much I enjoyed this film. Thanks again for stopping by!

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  5. I like this remake better too, I think in large part due to Kinnear. I’ve never been a fan of Holden’s, but Kinnear plays this character in such a way that you love him even as you know he’s wrong for her. I don’t think it hurt that I saw this film at an impressionable age and was in love with Ormond’s style. I think she’s quite good in it. Ford I did find flat when not allowed to use his usual charm. But Nancy Marchand! Could she be funnier?:) Leah

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    • Hi there, Leah! Thanks so much for commenting. I’m glad you bring up Kinnear. He’s so wonderfully charming, and yet so oddly likable despite his flaws. I just cracked up watching him on screen. I actually really enjoyed Harrison Ford in this role, even though I felt like he was playing a version of himself. He just seemed to be able to play a multi-dimensional character, and I liked how as a viewer, I could tell when he was playing, and when he was letting his guard down because he found himself so attracted to Sabrina.

      I can understand how you’d love Ormond’s style in this. She looks STUNNING, and I had a hard time not staring at her, especially when she attends the party. She’s quite beautiful in a subtle way, yet it takes your breath away. I can see the comparison to Cinderella in just her beauty. Haha, and yes, Marchand is quite funny in it!

      Thanks so much for stopping by!

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  6. I think I prefer the original, but that’s probably because I’m blinded by Hepburn’s charm! Several of Hepburn’s movies have a Cinderella/ rags-to-riches feel – My Fair Lady and Funny Face for example – it was a character she seemed suited too. I agree with Joe re: the age difference, their is something about the re-make that feels a little more natural. Great addition to the blogathon!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Hi there, Victoria! Thanks so much for stopping by my site. I do agree that Hepburn has a charm about her. I have yet to see the original, but I’m learning that I definitely need to check it out. I do agree with the story comparison in My Fair Lady. Yet at the same time, I think of Hepburn in Roman Holiday, and she plays the opposite character! Haha, either way, she’s certainly charming and has an appeal.

      I appreciate your kind words! Thanks so much for stopping by!

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