I am a big fan of Audrey Hepburn. I have often thought about which of Audrey’s film performances should be considered to be her best work. After thinking about this for quite some time, I have finally chosen a few performances that I think are her best.
I would love to get your views on Audrey’s performances in these films.
The Nun’s Story (1959)
Audrey stars as a nun called Sister Luke. This film is a biopic of a real life woman who became a nun and worked out in the Congo. Audrey is beyond amazing in this film. There are scenes in this where you really do believe that she is on the point of having a breakdown. You really feel that Audrey’s character is struggling emotionally and that she has conflicted feelings about the life she has chosen to lead.
She perfectly conveys the emotional and physical struggle this woman endures as she overworks herself, becomes physically ill and tries to adhere to the strict rules of convent life.
I’m not the biggest fan of the Academy Awards, but I think that Audrey deserved an award for her performance in this. You can read my full review of this film here.
This is a film that doesn’t get discussed often enough, and it really should be much better known because Audrey is phenomenal in it.
Roman Holiday (1953)
Audrey delivers one of the most natural and remarkable debut lead film performances in film history. She totally convinces as the reserved and unhappy Princess. She also convinces as the carefree, happy, curious and adorable woman enjoying a welcome taste of real life.
I love how she easily switches between innocence, intense happiness, deep sadness and being torn between her duties and her desires. It really is a poignant and powerful performance. It is easy to see how she managed to capture the public’s hearts when this one was released.
Breakfast At Tiffany’s (1961)
Audrey wasn’t the actress who was initially the first choice for the role of Holly but defying expectations, she more than proved that she was indeed the right choice for the role. Audrey perfectly captures the various emotions and quirks of Holly so well. One moment she is happy and quirky, the next she is vulnerable and melancholy, and the next she is daring, sexy, passionate, mean and strong.
I like how Audrey makes you feel for Holly and enjoy spending time with her. Holly is such a unique character and Audrey captures her many different facets so well. You can tell when you watch this that Audrey put so much effort into this role. It is so difficult to imagine any other actress in this role now other than Audrey. It isn’t difficult to see why this has become her iconic role and film.
My Fair Lady (1964)
Although she doesn’t really convince as a cockney flower girl living in poverty, Audrey certainly does convince as an awkward and nervous woman who transforms into a society lady.
Audrey always had a natural class and dignity about her that aided her in her performance here. She also does such a good job of conveying Eliza’s despair, frustration and anger over her dismissal by Higgins after the ball. She makes you feel how much hard work and effort Eliza has put in, and also feel how hurt and used she feels by Higgins dismissal of her success.
Overlooked at the time by the Academy, her performance speaks for itself and it remains moving and memorable today. You can read my full review of the film here.
Some other fine performances include Wait Until Dark, Sabrina, Charade, The Children’s Hour, Two For The Road and Robin and Marian.
Which performances do you consider to be Audrey’s greatest screen work?