Rated: PG Reviewed by: Chris Release date: December 15, 1995 Released by: Paramount Pictures Corporation
The original 1954 sweet, funny romance about a chauffeur's daughter and the two men in her life, was made more memorable by the performances of William Holden, Humphrey Bogart and Audrey Hepburn.
This remake was a tall order trying to recapture the whimsy of the story not to mention trying to match the star quality of the original cast. Harrison Ford, who molds himself nicely into any character that he takes on, is very funny as the stodgy older brother, Linus Laraby, who's more interested in running his multimillion dollar empire than having a relationship. Attired in a bow tie, Brooks brothers suit and wire-rimmed glasses he looks every bit the serious no nonsense mogul.
Julia Ormond (First Knight and Legends of the Fall) plays the lead role of Sabrina. She's beautiful, but lacks the innocent sex appeal that Hepburn personified. Greg Kinnear, the host of TV's late night talk show, Later,) is a real winner in his first film role. With his white dinner jacket, dazzling smile and boyish good looks, it's easy to see how Sabrina would fall for him.
The story is set in present-day New York State. Sabrina lives over the garage on the Laraby estate with her chauffeur father.
When the film begins, Sabrina is a gawky young lady, infatuated by dashing David Laraby (Kinnear). For years she's watched lavish outdoor parties fro a tree on the edge of the patio, but her hopes of someday having David as her own are dashed every time she sees him wining and dining one debutante after another.
Her father sends her to Paris to get over David and when she returns with a new wardrobe, hairdo and confidence, David finally notices her, and how! He's willing to end his new engagement, until older brother Linus intervenes.
Everything in this wonderful movie is fairy tale-like - the parties with champagne flowing, beautiful music and lavish gardens. The trappings of splendor and wealth are everywhere.
Ford is perfect. When the buttoned-down Linus begins to respond to the charms of Sabrina, it is very romantic indeed. This remake is every bit as enjoyable as the original, probably more so, because Ford doesn't seem as uncomfortable as Bogart playing for laughs.
Director Sydney Pollack has produced a wonderful love story wrapped up with a big red bow especially for the holidays. Go see it and enjoy.