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film criticism by maryann johanson | since 1997

what he said: Peter Bradshaw at the ‘Guardian’ Film blog …

…about what Emma Thompson said about Audrey Hepburn.

Oh, wait: you haven’t heard what Emma Thompson said about Audrey Hepburn? She said this (via Bradshaw):

I find Audrey Hepburn fantastically twee. Twee is whimsy without wit. It’s mimsy-mumsy sweetness without any kind of bite. And that’s not for me. She can’t sing and she can’t really act, I’m afraid. I’m sure she was a delightful woman – and perhaps if I had known her I would have enjoyed her acting more, but I don’t and I didn’t, so that’s all there is to it, really.

Thompson has been doing press lately regarding a proposed remake of My Fair Lady that she has written a script for. (I hope to god Thompson’s screenplay turns that story on its end, and has a sweet young man getting tutored by an agressive older woman who knows what’s best for him. I see Angelina Jolie and Zac Efron in the leads…)
You can imagine the uproar among Hepburn accolytes. Harry Mount in the Telegraph figures Thompson must be “jealous” — because that’s always the way of it when a woman says something less than pleasant and charming and nice about another woman. And this:

Thompson says appreciating Audrey Hepburn may be “a guy thing”, as if her attraction is purely sexual. Actually – although she’s obviously attractive – she has very little raunch to her (a fact not lost on her legions of gay fans). Her charm is almost asexual – more a gamine, little girl lost thing…

Hey, maybe Thompson is jealous after all! Because she’s an adult woman living in a world where little-girlness is considered an appealing thing for an adult female, and where “raunch” is the extent of female sexuality.

Anyway, what Bradshaw said in Thompson’s defense — not that Thomson needs defending — is this:

Hepburn is an intriguing figure, but I think Emma Thompson is entitled, more than entitled, to poke this sacred cow.

As I’m sure Thompson knows, sacred cows make for the juiciest steak.

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