Fourth of July weekend. It’s a time for cookouts, jaunts to the beach, and if you’re very lucky, perhaps a long weekend away. In honor of that tradition (and because I’ve recently returned from a vacation of my own), I’ve chosen as this week’s Fab Flick Friday pick one of my favorite travel movies: Two for the Road, starring Albert Finney and my hero when it comes to everything in life, the incomparable Audrey Hepburn.
This 1967 movie is delicious in every way. Audrey and Albert star as Joanna and Mark Wallace, a married couple who, after a decade together, are at a crossroads in their relationship. Wealthy and worn down, the Wallaces embark on a trip to the South of France, and through the non-linear story, we take a look back at all of the European expeditions they have made together. From their introduction and first romantic week together as penniless kids, to their hilarious joint trip as newlyweds, traveling with his annoying ex-girlfriend, her stick-in-the-mud husband, and their incredibly bratty child (which will teach you to never travel with another couple, ever), to a disaster-laden adventure with a lemon of a car a few years later, we follow the ups and downs of their life, piecing together how two kids who were so crazy in love can become that married couple who doesn’t speak - the people they swore they would never be.
Make no mistake: Blue Valentine this is not. (I say this with the utmost love and respect for Blue Valentine, which I consider to be one of the best films of this year.) Two for the Road is no tear-jerker, but an upbeat, light-hearted romantic comedy about two people who, despite a few detours and traffic jams, can and should make things work. The chemistry between Hepburn and Finney is gorgeous, and shines even more thanks to a brilliant screenplay of rat-a-tat dialogue that many movies today are sadly missing. If we’ve learned anything from Breakfast at Tiffany’s, it’s that a Henry Mancini score and an Audrey Hepburn film create pure perfection, and the same can be said for Stanley Donen’s direction, which is as wonderful here as it is in Charade and Funny Face.
Like all of Audrey’s movies, Two for the Road is a classic that will always be beautiful. There are no gimmicks, no special effects, no jarring slang of the time to age the movie in any way. It’s just a story about two people, a car, a few mosquitoes, and a road. It’s just a story about love, and as Carrie Bradshaw once said, that’s one label that will never go out of style.
So whether you’ve got big plans this weekend or are lying low, set aside a couple of hours for this delightful tale. I guarantee you the fireworks between Audrey Hepburn and Albert Finney will surpass any display you see on the Fourth.