The film opens with a wandering aerial shot and the soothing, innocent voice of Sabrina Fairchild telling us what sounds, at first, like the beginning of a fairytale. We quickly realize she is, in fact, telling us the story of her life.
She grew up on a sprawling picturesque estate on Long Island, but she lived there as one of the invisible people, merely the daughter of the Larrabees chauffer. We are drawn close by the softness of her voice and the dreamlike beauty of the scenes before us, as the story and her life unfolds before us.
Sabrina as a young girl just coming of age, is intelligent, well educated, shy, self-conscoius, innocent, and quite hopelessly infatuated with David Larrabee. David is the younger son and he is everything his elder brother, Linus, is not.
Charismatic, impulsive, irresponsible, romantic and completely oblivious to anything outside of his self-involved life, David is the prince in all of Sabrinas dreams. Well aware of his daughters fascination, Sabrinas father arranges for her to go to Paris. Where she will learn to see life anew through a camera lens and, hopefully forget about the dashing Larrabee neer-do-well.
When Sabrina returns, she has blossomed into a striking, stylish, and confidant young woman, and David at first, does not recognize her. Sensible, straightforward Linus knows her at once, of course, and quickly becomes concerned that Sabrinas beauty and quiet grace will upset all the family plans for his younger brother who is already engaged (finally) to Elizabeth. Worse still, it might unravel the major deal Linus has going with Elizabeths father!
He takes ruthless, if highly amusing, steps to ensure that Sabrina will not become the fly in the family ointment. Engineering a rather well deserved diversion for David, Linus whisks Sabrina away from the estate on a semi-plausible occupation. Much to his own amazement, this campaign does not seem to be playing out in quite the manner he had intended though. How's it going? Terrible! So far, I'm more effected than she is! Ive nearly cried twice! he marvels to his mother.
Will the worlds only living heart donor find his heart only to loose it to the enchanting Sabrina? What will David do once the medication wears off and he is recovered from his accident? Who will save whom and can this spell be broken by a single kiss? Will Sabrina fair have the inner strength to do what must be done and mend her twice-broken heart alone?
This charming remake of a 1954 film by Billy Wilder manages to be touching, romantic, funny, and surprisingly superior to the original. While still a Cinderella story, Sabrina gains far more independence, strength, and flair than she did the first time around. Which quite took me by surprise as Sabrina was originally played by Audrey Hepburn (and Humphrey Bogart as Linus), who has been one of my especial favorites for ages now.
Lets face it though, being a fashion photographer has far more appeal than becoming a 'good cook', even if a cook was a far more acceptable role for women in the fifties. The 54 version, while almost identical to this version in most respects, just seems cheapened by the astringent stereotypes of that era that cant help seeping through the seams.
The original is still well worth a look (it Is Hepburn after all!), but this version is the one to own! Much is said through expression and body language by many of the actors. Maude Larrabee is priceless and the relationship between David and Linus is quite interesting. Director Sydney Pollack and the excellent cast did a simply marvelous job. Even the soundtrack seems to drift out of the mists of a fairytale.
So, if you are looking for a little romantic magic by moonlight, let Sabrina sweep you off your feet!
Viewing Format: VHS
Video Occasion: Good Date Movie
Suitability For Children: Suitable for Children Age 13 and Older
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