I made the mistake of showing “Roman Holiday” this week to my feature writing class. Now I’m in trouble.
It’s not because it’s not an appropriate film to show students before they read Taras Grecoe’s super creative travel piece by the same name from National Geographic Traveler; it’s not because I think they can’t relate; and it’s not because it’s an outdated film.
It’s still relevant today. If it weren’t, I wouldn’t have had a student pass me in the hallway afterwards and say, “I love that movie! It’s so cute!”
Cute, for sure. We’ve got dashing Gregory Peck as Joe Bradley and stunning Audrey Hepburn as Princess Ann. We’ve got an adorable day-long, little romance mixed with a touch of melancholy unfolding as the bitter-sweet ending leaves us feeling uncertain and sad for the two main characters. It’s not easy to find love and have to let it go for reasons beyond our control. Some of us may be able to relate to that sentiment.
However, the perpetual appeal of this film is the idea of a holiday…a time to do for a day whatever the hell we want. How often are we permitted this amazing luxury? Look at the calendar. Three-hundred and sixty-five days in a year. How many of these days are all yours…all yours to do whatever you want with…all day long?
When Audrey Hepburn says she wants to spend the day doing things she never gets to do like eat and drink champagne in a café, go dancing, or sightsee, she knows exactly what that “day out” would look like for her. What would yours be like?
As grown-ups with responsibilities and commitments, in addition to some of us having children with responsibilities and commitments, life can sometimes be insane and chaotic. We have to find the minutes in the day to read a book, go see a movie, pick apples at a farm, or dance in a club until 2 a.m. and then have breakfast at an all-night diner.
I danced in a club one night this year, and I was home by 1:30 a.m.
I’m in a funk. I shouldn’t have shown “Roman Holiday” to my students. Now I want a day out, all to myself. A book. A café. Champagne. Some music.
And it doesn’t even have to take place in Rome.