Year of Revisiting #1 — Roman Holiday
This post is the first entry in my new series, The Year of Revisiting. So much great stuff exists to watch, read, and do that I rarely go back to things I really love. For 2016*, my plan is to pick some favorite things, revisit them, and enjoy them.
“I’m going to enter her sick room disguised as a thermometer.”
Roman Holiday. Is there a more charming film? Answer: Nope. It’s certainly one of my top ten movies—has been for some time. And unlike some other things I consider favorites, it hadn’t been quite that long since I had last seen it, so I remembered it well and was confident I would still love it. When I discovered it is on Netflix instant, I decided to make it my New Year’s Day film and inaugural item in the Revisiting series.
Vague anxiety about wasting precious pop culture consumption time faded a few minutes after pressing play. I find so much of the film utterly touching and moving, yet absent treacly sentimentality. Princess Ann (Audrey Hepburn) longs for escape from her overly-scheduled, demanding, and scrutinized royal life, but she’s hardly a whiny ingrate unaware of her own blessings. Her advisors and attendants are not prison wardens either, but helpmates who nonetheless know she must keep up appearances. In one of the first scenes, Ann accidentally removes her shoe while standing in a receiving line, and one of her party asks her to dance so she can get it back on her foot and avoid a faux pas. To be so protected yet still be stifled by that protection drives Ann to escape into Rome, intending to have a few hours of freedom. She instead ends up on one adventure after another with Joe Bradley (Gregory Peck) and Irving Radovich (Eddie Albert)—members of the press, unbeknownst to her, who intend to sell the story and pictures of her escapades.
I’m sure I was young the first time I saw this film, but its appeal has not diminished. The plot manages to include, over the course of one day, a love story; a tale of hidden identities and adventure; lessons about duty and friendship; and a perfect bittersweet ending. Few more delightful experiences exist than starting the new year with Roman Holiday.
*My 2015 creative challenge was to write in a journal every single day. And I did it. Every. Damn. Day. It will surprise no-one that it is mainly a year-long series of complaints and gripes.