A Parent’s Guide to Sabrina (1954) (Movie)

WARNING: Reading this article may give away things in the story ranging from unimportant to plot turners.

Sabrina by Billy Wilder (Producer and Director)

Type: Romantic Comedy

Basic Plot: Sabrina is merely the daughter of a chauffeur but desires excitement and romance with David, the son of her father’s boss. After a few years in Paris, Sabrina returns ready to sweep David off his feet. She has more than a few obstacles in her way though, possibly the greatest being herself.

Quality

Plot: 3½/5 Above Average: The movie is what I like to think of as a clever, sophisticated romantic comedy. It’s got humor, romance, and romantic cliché all mixed into one. To start, when it comes to making one laugh, being clever, and just overall having a good time, this movie knows what to do. The plot moves forward at a good pace and you have fun moving with it. The only flaw in it, which can either be a big make or break, is the awkwardness of the romance. Perhaps it is because of the thirty year age gap, maybe it is how spontaneous the romance is, but it comes off as awkward in my opinion. It doesn’t come off so awkward as to leave the viewers in a stupor on how it happened, but it does feel a little weird at times and lack the romantic chemistry the a romance movie needs to be taken very seriously.

Acting: 4/5 Well Done: Regardless of how well the main characters look together in context, they pulled off their acting superbly. Voice inflection, little movements, and subtle emotions all create a beautiful performance.

Costumes and Scenery: 3½/5 Above Average: The clothing and scenery in the show isn’t as fancy as what we see today, of course, but still has believable sets and clothing, the latter being quite pretty at times.

Music: 3½/5 Above Average: Though it has an average soundtrack, there are a few very beautiful and distinct songs that are played throughout, including La Vien Rose.

Moral: 1/5 No Moral: The story doesn’t really have a moral. Its purpose seems to be more in a “true love prevails” story than any real moral to help people grow. It’s a bit disappointing because it easily could have turned into a moral about picking the right type of person to marry or working hard to achieve your dreams, but it ended up like the typical rom-com instead. The only harm is the common harm that can come from any amount of too many romance movies without enough reality to balance it out, that life and love are fairy tales were dreams come true just because.

Overall: 3½/5 Above Average: The movie is a dreamy, humorous romance. It does have plenty of cliches as well as a very large age gap between the leads, but the good acting and witty dialogue make it still a good watch. I think teenage girls and those older would enjoy it best.

Moral Content

Sexual and Inappropriate Content: 1/5 Light Suggestive Themes: A majority of the movies sensual content is limited in three kisses on the lips and one on the cheek, some light hugs, and shoulder and back revealing clothes. There are a few dresses that show cleavage as well as short-shorts and a girl holds up her intendeds swimming clothes (which covers less than most boxers), but is overall modest. A woman tells her fiance “I don’t want to spend the first eighteen hours of our honeymoon in an airplane sitting up.” A man is known to be a flirt, has been married three times, and comments on a girl’s legs. A girl says the idea of a certain man being touched by a woman is strange. A girl mentions a boy kissed her when they were kids. A man sits on glass and has it removed onscreen from his non-shown bottom. A man falls on his bottom once and is tapped on it twice by his brother. A secretary mentions going through a man’s underwear drawer when packing his things. A man says he is so devoted to work that it is comparable to unfaithfulness.

Violence: 1/5 Brief Violence: Men are punched in the face twice.

Swearing and Using the Lord’s Name in Vain: 1/5 Brief, Light Cursing: “Ass” and “Lord” are misused once each. A boy warns his father not to swear.

Emotional, Intense, and Disturbing Content: 2½/5 Some Dramatic Content: A girl is so distraught that she can never be with a man that she writes a suicide note and tries to kill herself from carbon monoxide poison. Though not done dramatically, the situation is still serious. A man says he once wanted to jump off a roof because a girl left him. On  a sillier note, twice, men sit on glass objects, the one having to have the glass removed from his bottom and getting stitches, which is partially shown onscreen. A woman faints. A man mentions one ancestor was hung for heresy and another shot for robbery. A man has a headache. There is mention of a boy getting kicked in the head by a pony. A girl cries for emotional reasons, and writes that if she died a man wouldn’t cry. A man says he’ll use a woman as a battering ram if she doesn’t let him into a room. A man says that he wishes he “was dead with his back broken.” The latter two are done for humorous affect. “Scarface,” forms of “kill” and “beaten” used for descriptive purposes.

Religious Issues: ½/5 Brief Mention: “Lucky,” “altar… sacrifice,” and “worshiping” are used for descriptive purposes. A man mentions his ancestor was hung for heresy.

Magic: ½/5 Brief Mention: “Wizard” is used for descriptive purposes. No magic is done in the movie.

Others: Characters slow dance quite frequently. There is also a large amount of drinking and smoking from the characters, occasionally portrayed in a humorous manner, implying that comical stress leads to overuse. Brandy, champagne, crème de menthe, martinis are mentioned by name.

A man says he’s met a real woman, to which his brother’s jokes as opposed to “a transvestite.” A man jokingly asks if his brother kissed the father of the girl his brother engaged him to. The movie The Seven Year Itch is mentioned.

Overall: 2½/5 Older Child Appropriate: Because of the suicide, light cursing, and humorous portrayal of drinking and smoking, I personally think someone should be at least twelve years old before watching this movie.

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