Fred Astaire is winning as fashion photographer Dick Avery and Kay Thompson is marvelous as Miss Prescott, the one-track mind owner of Quality Magazine he works for. Hepburn is adorable as the shy New York bookstore clerk, Jo Stockton. They bully her into letting them do a photo shoot, making a mess off things for her to clean up. From the moment Donen's camera catches her sliding on the ladder in panic we are in love and we know it won't be long before Jo and Dick are also.
Jo is a shy intellectual, mad about empathicalism, a screwy philosophy endorsed by Professor Emile Flustre (Michel Auclair) who, of course, lives in Paris. Once Dick displays his own brand of empathy by kissing Jo while they are cleaning up, he gets an idea for a new layout and the seed of love is planted in Jo's heart. Donen captures Hepburn's child-like yet feminine grace like no one else ever has and her wistful and waif-like beauty has never been seen to better advantage than in Funny Face.
Making Jo the face for Quality magazine may not be such an easy task, however, as it goes against everything she believes. Being chased by Miss Prescott's minions, Jo ducks into Dick's darkroom, where she and Dick share a lovely song and dance moment to the title-tune, Funny Face. Once Jo discovers it will all lead to Paris, where she can meet the great empathicalist, Emile, she gives the green light and the fun really begins.
Stanley Donen staged every song himself, and it shows. That moment that nearly always exists in every musical, even the great ones, when we are tempted to fast-forward and get on with the story, simply does not exist here. Every number is lively and imaginative, easily holding our interest. None of the numbers is more joyful or fun than the one when they first arrive in Paris and become typical tourists. Ray June's photography shows off the beautiful City of Lights and the funny and happy face of Audrey Hepburn in wonderful fashion.
It is like watching a great chef make the sweetest and most delicious of pastries as Dick takes Jo through one great shoot after another all over Paris, transforming the cocoon into a butterfly. The two share a lovely song sequence in a garden with a brook outside a church, when Jo finally tells Dick she is in love with him. Hepburn in a white wedding gown is as elegant and graceful as the doves and swans surrounding them.
There are some fun complications involving Jo's idol Emile, of course, who Dick knows is more man than philosopher. A fun and frantic ending caps a film that is a sheer delight from beginning to end. Astaire was somewhat older than Hepburn and it seems to work in the film's favor, as you could see where the innocent Jo would need a more worldly man to appreciate her charms rather than take advantage of them.
This is a wonderful confection from Stanley Donen, who would work with Audrey once again in another classic, Charade. The little girl from Holland who aided the Dutch resistence during WWII grew into one of the most lovely and luminous stars ever to grace a movie screen. She is gone now and Funny Face is a wonderful way to remember her......
This product's forum
Active discussions in related forums
Search Customer Discussions