Problematic Performance — Breakfast at Tiffany’s
The most iconic role in the historic career of Audrey Hepburn came from this classic story of classism, hypocrisy, and one’s individual pursuit of dreams. Its themes still remain timely, but a supposedly comedic aspect is something that should never have existed at any point in time. Caucasian actor Mickey Rooney portrays Mr. Yunioshi, the landlord of Hepburn’s Holly Golightly. As the name suggests, Yunioshi is meant to be Japanese — if the casting of a Caucasian actor wasn’t startling enough, the performance itself takes things to depths of narrow-mindedness that sadly still exist.
Filled to the brim with stereotypical caricatures, Rooney’s approximation of an Asian person is incredibly difficult to watch — and should be. It feels harmful for the sake of causing harm. There is no reason for it to exist in that form in any frame and yet the filmmakers seem to delight in its overly racist depiction — decisions horrible enough to at times not even consider this film “great” or a “classic.”
Image Source: IMDb