I’ve always had favorite movies, but I was never one to remember line-for-line, 90 minutes of dialogue and expressions like some women. I think of Hillary Swank in P.S. I Love You, in her late husband’s boxer shorts and suspenders, speaking truth to her grief while voicing every line from a Bette Davis movie and belting out iconic lines from Judy Garland’s A Star is Born. I envy this ability to be so consumed by escapism that the world of a film becomes your own.
Many, if not most of us have retreated to streaming for some semblance of solace. If you look at the top ten for each service, however, things aren’t looking up. The world seems to be preoccupied with shocking, heart-racing, can’t-believe-it-even-if-I’m-seeing-it kind of content.
And how is this affecting our sensibilities? Cooped up in close confines, working from home, caring for others – are you monitoring and placing controls on what you are consuming? We aren’t saying restrict your diet of must watch TV because tragedy and crime exist at the program’s core. We aren’t saying you are delicate and must reside in a bubble for the foreseeable future. What we are suggesting is we could all be a bit more selective in what we watch and how.
Here is Hermoza’s watchlist for inspiring content that’ll positively impact your mood while in isolation.
A riveting, cinematic masterpiece directed by Joe Wright (Pride & Prejudice, Anna Karenina), this film will sweep you away after a few fateful clicks on a typewriter. ICYMI: a young girl, growing up in the English countryside makes a horrible discovery that impacts her entire family as well as those who work on the estate where she lives. Spanning sixty years over the course of the 20th century, these characters will affect you with every major mood ranging from irritation, romance, heartache, rage, heartbreak, tension, and finally, disbelief – in that order. And while Atonement will throw you into examining tragedy and memory from new perspectives, this movie is everything you need right now to appreciate the dynamics of a close, unavoidable connection that possesses the spirit to endure anything. Almost.
STYLE ICON BONUS: Keira Knightley’s vintage one-piece bathing suit and her breezy, ethereal green satin gown worn to dinner have become legends. Designer Jacqueline Durran’s gorgeous, sweeping, draped lines capture Knightley’s lanky frame in a way that just screams “strength and confidence”. With a captivating open back (still risqué in the 1930s), Keira Knightley’s character, Cecilia Tallis commands the scene with a graceful, timeless, elegance that harkens back to leading ladies of the Golden Age. The deep shade of green radiates as Cecilia walks/storms/glides through every room, spotlighting its movement while making you appreciate its sculpted construction. Replicas have sold for tens of thousands, so hit up that friend whose craft room could get some use during lockdown to attempt to make your own.
Everyone could use a bit of madcap ridiculousness and this little movie delivers. Tony Curtis, Jack Lemmon, and Marilyn Monroe team up to deliver three stellar performances. Some Like It Hot is a nifty, playful change of pace as Curtis and Lemmon disguise themselves as female musicians to go on the run from a mafioso who isn’t so keen on leaving witnesses alive. A bit dated in some of its material and flooded with old-world archetypes, this movie isn’t one to be taken seriously. However, it is easy to appreciate the constant contrasts, the elevated drama that competes with Monroe and Lemmon’s brilliant comedic timing, and Tony Curtis’s perfect pout. This movie is subtle in its sophistication and a goldmine for physical comedy that’ll have you rolling, especially when you get to see men experiencing “how the other half lives” for a change. Monroe’s character, Sugar Cane Kowalczyk is a tortured lounge singer looking for love (and money) in all the wrong places. Constantly falling for musicians (like Curtis’s character), Sugar’s shallow selfishness guides every decision she makes. But with numbers like “I Want to Be Loved by You” and “I’m Through with Love,” Monroe herself shows dynamics worthy of her icon status.
STYLE ICON BONUS: Monroe’s presence and style in this movie make every moment a special occasion with the gorgeous light and life she brings to every scene. And the pure and simple joy she offers to this character is just divine. Her style is unavoidably sensual, but you must applaud the comfort she possesses in her own skin. Unapologetic yet gentle at the same time, Monroe’s best accessory is her confidence. Also, I can’t even with all the hats Curtis and Lemmon don throughout. Adorable little cloche pieces gave them all the contouring their strong jawlines could handle.
While uplifting isn’t the first word you’d associate with this classic drama, Gone with the Wind will always be an inspiring feat of magic. The story of a sullen and spoiled heiress who will stop at nothing to manipulate a man she’s crushed hard on for years -- it’s on everyone’s must watch list for a reason. Scarlet’s downfall-rise-downfall leaves you breathless, astonished, yet still hopeful. We see her as a shameless flirt, a woman who feels she’s lost her faith, and a passionate and assertive landowner fighting tirelessly to keep her family and their land together. What keeps us going throughout all the downer moments is Scarlett’s learned resilience, her bold, vivacious spirit, and her rampant resourcefulness as she attempts to recreate a world of comfort in the face of ultimate crisis. Throughout the film, we see Scarlett’s jilted heart leading her down a path of destruction. Yet, when matters seem to get dire, Scarlett gains the life experience needed to rally as all the best icons do. So, Scarlett’s tragic story teaches us what really matters: 1) Keep a firm focus on home; 2) Find + keep your person; 3) Remain clear + observant despite others’ weaknesses; 4) Greed is bad – avoid it like the plague; and 5) ANY time the wind blows, toss your skirt out into it and let that thing billow in the breeze while you look out into the sunrise/sunset. Also, get you someone who looks at you the way Rhett Butler looks at Scarlett O’Hara as she descends the staircase, because, seriously. We live to see Scarlett’s resilience because she confirms that a Hermoza’s “gotta go on being brave” and that “tomorrow’s another day.”
STYLE ICON BONUS: Scarlett’s costumes are iconic in themselves, because obvi. Set off against raging fires or ruinous piles of rubble, it’s funny that there’s always room for these costumes as they sway through each scene, making all the right moves. Respectfully, her mourning gowns are all stunning, but they do get a major upgrade by the end of the movie. Keeping her looking statuesque and graceful with her nose in the air, even while grieving, the costume designers saw fit to give her gorgeous collars that accentuate her graceful profile. While Scarlett’s afternoon sundress and her draped velvet gown made of curtains top Hollywood’s best-dressed list for the past eighty years, my favorite ensemble is an understated piece that doesn’t get too much spotlight. A white, ruched, corseted button-up with burgundy piping tucked into a full and fabulous burgundy skirt has me seeing stars every time I can brave the 4-hour sit down.
I know everyone looks to Breakfast at Tiffany’s as Audrey Hepburn’s style moment for the win, but I am partial to Roman Holiday. There is something so incredibly special about Princess Anna’s simple, gentle, gracefulness in this film. Combined with the fact that she wears one outfit + a pair of pajamas and makes it all looks so clever and chic, it just floors me. This movie is so stinking adorable, because Audrey, but also because of the poor little rich girl storyline. I know it’s tired, but I can’t get enough because Hepburn’s character is just outright loveable. Her spontaneous, playful spirit keeps you captivated to the point where you almost miss the architectural majesty surrounding the cast. The film starts with the ball gown to end all ball gowns, then fluidly transitions to a simple button-down and a full A-line skirt which might explain why audiences have been in awe of it for decades. Despite her ethereal beauty, Audrey is just accessible, especially when she is receiving a procession of guests and painfully flexes her feet over heels under her ball gown. It’s real talk and “same girl, same” all at the same time for us. She’s wonderful, getting a schemer to start dreaming of a life with her in it, while gulping down the realization that she is more than just another assignment to him. Their goodbye? Forget about it. Leaky eyes, every time. Even in her casual day wear, Audrey’s character remains dignified and regal, leading us to believe that it’s okay to yearn for more while in isolation.
STYLE ICON BONUS: The best part of the film for me is when “Anya” gets $1.50 from Joe Bradley (Gregory Peck) and she buys strappy sandals, gelato, and gets an amazing haircut, with change leftover. Talk about making it stretch better than a college student on gap year abroad! In Rome in the afternoon, Hepburn wears the buttons over her shirt open, cutely framing a scarf on her neck (see our short sarongs to match her style). In the evening, at a perfect little outdoor dance club, her sleeves are rolled up and it’s buttoned to the neck with her scarf knotted like a tie. Quick as a flash, the change is everything. Audrey could wear burlap and look a knockout. What captivates us is her perspective and life. She beams in almost every scene, giving us our faith back in humanity, love, and all the things. When she describes her perfect day and it’s “to do whatever,” (which turns into champagne for lunch at a sidewalk café, window shopping, and loads of fun and excitement) we are here for it. And when she says she “hates the word ‘schedule,’” we knew she could be our BFF in a heartbeat. Anna/Anya is naïve, but not simple. She’s celebrates everything. She learns how to handle herself and she makes the best of everything. Hermozas the world over could style their lives after this icon. If you haven’t already, give Roman Holiday a chance. In fact, just binge watch everything Audrey Hepburn ever filmed. You’ll thank us.
Movies are life. Now more than ever, we look to art to help us see the good in the world. We might be scared and uncertain. We might be worried about our loved ones and our friends and family from which we must remain socially distant. We might be struggling with our own health and wellness while sheltering in place. The icons who inspire us can give us a bit of a breather. When we watch their films, we can be transported to worlds of “sweetness and decency” à la Roman Holiday. Where resilience and resourcefulness are the cure to what ails you. It might be fiction, but films are what we all need right now to feel connected, clear, and calm.
Tell us what style icons are giving you life right now. Tag us in your socials with #hermozawoman #wellsuited and #thehermoza.