#302 Two for the Road

Watched: December 21 2021

Director: Stanley Donen

Starring: Audrey Hepburn, Albert Finney, Eleanor Bron, William Daniels, Claude Dauphin, Nadia Gray, Georges Descrières, Jacqueline Bisset, Judy Cornwell

Year: 1967

Runtime: 1h 51min

Source

Joanna and Mark Wallace (Hepburn and Finney, respectively), a disillusioned and sniping couple, are going on a road trip to St. Tropez. The story of their 12 year relationship is told through flashbacks juxtaposed with more current events as we examine how they ended up in their current, seemingly loveless, marriage.

As our mama always said: make sure the cute girl you meet while hitchhiking through continental Europe and then decide to marry, isn’t a bug-eyed alien in disguise. Those marriages never work out. Well, maybe once or twice.

Travel permeates their relationship – at least most critical events appear to have happened while they’re on the road. They met in Europe and fell in love while hitchhiking together, and from there on out most developments occur on other trips they take, alone or together.

Our favourite might be their ridiculous road trip with Mark’s ex Cathy (Bron), her overbearing husband Howard (Daniels) and their obnoxious and unruly daughter Ruthie (not her fault – her parents are useless). The fact that Joanna and Mark have kids after this is mindblowing.

“So, according to this, it’s too late for an abortion when the child is already walking and talking.” “You sure? There’s no small print..?”

We’re in two minds about this movie. We love the non-linear storytelling and the wardrobe, but the relationship doesn’t quite work for us. Audrey Hepburn is lovely as Joanna, but frankly we’re not sold on Albert Finney in this, and we don’t quite see their chemistry.

Might be us though – there’s a chance we’re blinded by the wardrobe

At times it seems as though they’re going for the loving bickering of Nick and Nora, but while she is charming enough, he often comes across as a douche. Why on earth would they get married? They’re a perfect example of how squabbling and negging does NOT a cute couple make.

Just keep on walking, girl. Never mind the chafing from your highly impractical ensemble which you inexplicably chose for a long road trip in a warm car.

Sure, they have some good times – their express tourism is fun, and the continuous gag about his passport is cute, but overall our impression is that they should have been a holiday fling. Not building a life together. Especially as they fall into the classic trap of “sure, my partner and I have agreed on a life goal together, but I’m sure they’ll change their mind now that I have!” Then again, maybe that is the point of the story..? In which case: well done to all involved!

“Do you ever get the feeling that all our vehicles always falling apart is some sort of metaphor..?”

We have a fondness for Cathy though – just the way she talks is enough to make us want to hang out with her. And we’d pay good money to see a crossover show with Cathy and Howie befriending Mortitia and Gomez Addams! Or Nick and Nora Charles. If anyone wants to develop that show we’ll take 10% of all proceeds, including merchandising, please and thank you.

What we learned: Who travels in a vinyl outfit? Have fun with the thrush…

Next time: Weekend (1967)