Breakfast at Tiffany’s Explained: What’s Up With the Ending?

Breakfast at Tiffany’s is a 1961 Hollywood film directed by Blake Edwards and based on the Truman Capote novel of the same name. Audrey Hepburn and George Peppard played the main roles in it, and the film was composed by the legendary Henry Mancini, who presented Breakfast with the famous Moon River soundtrack. For all members of the film crew, the film has become a landmark – these are the best roles of the main actors and Edwards’ best film. After the release of the film, Truman Capote’s short story became even more popular – in which, by the way, he did not describe the type of Audrey Hepburn at all: the prototypes of Holly Golightly were Marilyn Monroe, with whom the writer was friends, and Capote himself.

What is Breakfast at Tiffany’s about?

The legendary film tells the viewer an ever-relevant story about a simple girl from the outback who moved to New York in search of a better life. By “better life” Holly Golightly means a successful marriage with a wealthy influential man and an endless cycle of social events and parties. The girl’s Mecca is the famous jewelry boutique Tiffany & Co (which also became incredibly famous after the release of the picture – the glamorous reputation of the jewelry house has developed precisely thanks to the novel and the film adaptation). For Golightly, this luxury store is a symbol of her dream life and serenity.

Almost simultaneously with Holly, a young writer, Paul Varjak, also moves into the house (the prototype of which was also the author of the Capote novel). He lives on the provision of a rich woman who pays for his rent and the opportunity to freely engage in creativity. Neighbors quickly approach each other and begin to feel affection for each other, but circumstances and Holly’s men, both former and failed, constantly get in the way of falling in love. But the main reason why the characters cannot really get close is the character of the heroine – this should be told in more detail.

Meaning of “Breakfast at Tiffany’s”

The film adaptation, like Truman Capote’s multifaceted short story, does not have a single and unambiguous meaning – neither Capote nor Edwards divide characters and events into black and white. But a few highlights will help you better understand the layered and deep meaning of this film.

Pursuit of a better life

Both Holly and Paul dream of a good, carefree life full of events and pleasant acquaintances. However, Varzhak, unlike Golightly, is better arranged (one lady provides him on an ongoing basis, while the girl’s sponsors constantly change and do not stay long) and knows what he wants – he has a favorite business that brings him income and helps to build reputation, and Paul is more confident on his feet, despite the presence of a wealthy mistress. Golightly, on the other hand, is totally unsettled in life: she has her head in the clouds, reacts aggressively to any attempts to attract her to real life and does not consider other ways of existence, except for being supported by a rich man. However, at the same time, Holly dreams of a real deep feeling, which she is not yet capable of. These two sides – the desire to live well, but at the same time be free and truly love – are quite typical of many young women who can recognize themselves in a heroine. For some of them, the film will help make their choice and decide in life.

Fear of responsibility

Golightly is childish, she is afraid to take responsibility for anyone, including herself. She allows herself nothing but endless parties; she does not name her pet, calling it simply Cat, because she believes that she has no right to name him by any name, as long as they are both free and, in fact, do not belong to anyone. Holly runs away from her husband to New York because she is afraid to get bogged down in everyday life. But even in New York, a girl has something to fear: intimacy with Paul, the need to settle down in life, accepting reality.

The turning point of the film is Holly’s desire to escape from herself: knowing that the rich Brazilian fiancé is no longer waiting for her, she still strives to go to Brazil, explaining that she wants to go there. In fact, Golightly just keeps thrashing about, fearful of the responsibility of getting close to Paul — on the way to the airport, she even throws her beloved cat out of the car. This act becomes a symbol of Holly’s irresponsibility and lostness, and prompts Varjak to finally come clean with her.

Movie ending explained

On the way to the airport, Paul confesses his love to Holly, but she claims that no one belongs to anyone, and love is a cage. As an illustration, the girl throws out the cat, and after that Paul tells the driver to stop the car and explodes: he tries to explain to the girl that the cage is not love, but her fictitious freedom, and she will not be able to leave it wherever she goes. At parting, he throws a box with a Tiffany ring in front of Holly. This act touches Golightly, she puts on the ring and runs after Paul. Holly finds a cat, goes with him to Paul, and the characters kiss.

The film can help undecided girls (and not only them) who seek to escape from themselves and responsibility for the sake of imaginary freedom. But a movie masterpiece is worth watching for anyone who appreciates an interesting plot and excellent directorial work.

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