' ' Cinema Romantico: Ray of Light

Wednesday, November 25, 2020

Ray of Light

My Beautiful, Perspicacious Wife showed me “Funny Face” for the first time last week. I retain the right to review the movie in full at some point in the future, though I will say it does not completely work, significantly falling off in the second half, partially undone by the fact that despite its two legendary lead performers they simply have no romantic chemistry whatsoever, proof positive that the greats can’t fake it. Not that such critiques matter. The stuff here that’s good is so good it’ll melt your face off, stuff like the “Funny Face” scene itself, though not the actual number, not quite, more the moment just before Audrey Hepburn as the bookish Jo Stockton begins singing with the debonair photographer Dick Avery (Fred Astaire).

Standing in the latter’s dark room, Jo leans against the wall and sighs “How could I be a model,” one of those immaculate, peerless Hepburn line readings where she stretches out the first syllable on the last word, rendering it “moooodel”, like it’s some distant phrase she’s trying to sound out. “I have no illusions about my looks,” she continues. “I think my face is funny.” Her face is not really funny, of course, duh. In fact, the funniest thing in the whole movie (and I mean that as a compliment) is that she says this while the movie literally frames her like the Movie Star she is. 

Heavens to murgatroyd. 

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