Paramount Pictures | Release Date: August 27, 1953
8.7
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Universal acclaim based on 60 Ratings
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5
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9
SpangleApr 1, 2017
Back when I reviewed La La Land, I discussed postmodernism. In particular, I discussed the concept of hyperreality. For many cities, such as Los Angeles and Paris in La La Land, the way in which they are perceived by many does not actuallyBack when I reviewed La La Land, I discussed postmodernism. In particular, I discussed the concept of hyperreality. For many cities, such as Los Angeles and Paris in La La Land, the way in which they are perceived by many does not actually exist. These cities tend to be dream-like cities that people, over time, have romanticized heavily. Others can include Tokyo, Manhattan, Las Vegas, Miami, or maybe even London. These cities are ones where people have a concept of the city in their mind, but when they arrive, they realize the city of their dreams is not located there. What they imagined was this hyperreality that, in fact, was never really there. Rome, where Roman Holiday is obviously set, also meets this measure with various films and individuals romanticizing Rome to the point that the city ceases to exist. It is no longer there and what stands in its place is nothing anybody recognizes as Rome. Given that this romantic comedy is set in Rome, there is a connection between the hyperreality of Rome and their day spent together.

In exploring the bounds of this dream world, Princess Ann (Audrey Hepburn) escapes from the embassy for a night out on the town. However, some sleeping medication ensures a night turns into a day when she is found by newsman Joe Bradley (Gregory Peck). Once he recognizes her, Joe hopes to score a good story out of his day with Ann, only to wind up falling for her instead. Together, the duo encounter the cops, drive mini-bikes, dance by the river, fight private security guards, and visit various tourist traps and memorials. Yet, their time together is fleeting. Ann must return to her country and duty as a princess. Joe wants to return to America. No matter how much both enjoy their time together in Rome, none of it really exists. Their relationship is one built on mutual deception and one that acts as a ticking time bomb. It must end and they must snap out of this dream world that is unlike any other experience in their life. Rome, for them, goes hand-in-hand with their dreamy day together and will, likewise, be imagined to be a far grander place than it really is under the surface of their dreams.

Director William Wyler and screenwriter Dalton Trumbo quickly separate their dreams from their realities with their demeanor and actions in both. For the latter, Ann sets out to do things she never gets to do. As her family and upbringing is quite conservative, she wants to let loose and have a day to herself. She cuts her hair, dances with strange men, and dresses down. She paints the town red and turns Rome into the canvas upon which her dreams have been painted and drawn out. Alongside her, Joe indulges in a dream for a better life, only to come to realize that this better life would include Ann. Through this day together, both indulge in their dream world that both know cannot and will not last long, but they make the most of their time together. In many ways, this is somewhat akin to a film along the lines of Brief Encounter or The Bridges of Madison County. Though both concern affairs, they also depict forbidden love that has a time limit. Roman Holiday has a far shorter time limit and is scandalous for different reasons, but is scandalous nonetheless.

In regards to their demeanor after the encounter, both are incredibly professional. They share nothing but looks with one another that imbue the passion they feel for one another akin to films such as Carol. Via nothing more than a look, the two show their passion and nostalgia for another, though both recognize that the relationship is not meant to last. Thus, there is no need to pretend otherwise. Furthermore, this finale that lacks a climactic romantic overture shows a direct influence on La La Land. Not only does that film often define itself by simple looks by its lovers, but it also tears them away from one another and leaves us waiting for Ann or Joe to go running after their love. Yet, that moment never comes and they go their separate ways. Naturally, Roman Holiday's finale is likely also influenced by Casablanca, as was La La Land's. Their relationship is not built to last and is best to remain in the dream world of Rome. Testing it out in a non-dream world would provide enough strain to tear them apart as they would feel their heart calling them away from that whom they love. This separation between dreams and reality is further established by the photos being returned to her and by Ann remaining tight-lipped to her servants. There is no record of what happened and nobody is speaking about anything. It will instead live on in their hearts and minds before it reaches the point where all parties begin to even wonder if it happened at all or if it were merely just a dream from a better world.
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7
Compi24Aug 27, 2015
A wholesome and fun romantic comedy with a big heart and a good amount of laughs, it's no surprise why so many films would go on to try and replicate what "Roman Holiday" did first.
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9
VinceRocks123Apr 18, 2015
This review contains spoilers, click expand to view. Audrey Hepburn embodies the sweetness of a girl searching for a better life and a sense of freedom in a beautiful romantic comedy shot in Italy only 8 years after liberation in WW2, also featuring charismatic actor Gregory Peck has the man who she is destined to love forever, as they both make a great screwball journey of self-discovery and enjoyment until the ending Expand
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9
NicoDaFlagburnaJan 29, 2011
A sweet film, with unassuming and natural performances from all involved. It's not a clever film, it's here to entertain and there is enough humanity to captivate and make light of a serious situation. There is nothing more fascinating thanA sweet film, with unassuming and natural performances from all involved. It's not a clever film, it's here to entertain and there is enough humanity to captivate and make light of a serious situation. There is nothing more fascinating than seeing the newly liberated Italy, post WW2, through Hepburn's innocent eyes. It is simultaneously educational, filmed on location in Rome, and hilariously funny and Hepburn has never looked so magnificent on film. They certainly do not make films with such integrity anymore. 9/10 91/100 Expand
1 of 1 users found this helpful10
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