Funny Face is a 1957 musical film starring Audrey Hepburn, Fred Astaire, and Kay Thompson, and directed by Stanley Donen (Singin' in the Rain and Seven Brides for Seven Brothers), based In Name Only on a 1927 Broadway musical that also starred Fred Astaire.
Maggie Prescott (Thompson) is a magazine fashion editor looking for the next big thing — trying to find something intelligent and beautiful. She and photographer Dick Avery (Astaire) search for models who "think as well as they look". They decide to take over a Greenwich Village bookstore to use for a photoshoot, much to salegirl Jo Stockton's (Hepburn) dismay as the shop is left in a total mess.
Dick notices Jo in one of the photographs and the pair decide to hire her as a model, which Jo only agrees to so she can take a trip to Paris to meet a philosopher whose work she admires, but her snobbish attitude softens over the course of the film as she starts to enjoy the company of the handsome photographer.
The movie provides examples of:
- Affectionate Parody: Of 1950s high-fashion magazines, especially Vogue and Harper's Bazaar (both of which are even mentioned by name), and fashion photographers. This produces a Funny Moment early in the film, when Maggie and her entourage (including Dick) totally disrupt the Greenwich Village bookshop where Jo works for a magazine shoot.
- All Men Are Perverts: Discussed when Dick gets jealous of Jo with Professor Flostre: "He's a philosopher, but he's also a man." Dick winds up being proven right when Flostre manages to be alone with Jo and starts trying to get grabby with her.
- Beatniks: In all the places where Jo hangs out.
- Brainy Brunette:
- Jo's Establishing Character Moment.
- Averted with Marion, the model who is fruitlessly trying to look brainy in the bookstore shoot. The only thing she can read are pulp sci-fi comics.
- The Cameo: Well-known (at the time) 1950s fashion models Dovima and Suzy Parker (who herself later became an actress).
- Eiffel Tower Effect: Not only is the Trope Namer the first thing we see in Paris, but later on they actually go up it.
- Fashion Magazine: The backdrop.
- Fashion Show: The "Think Pink" number.
- Freudian Trio: Jo is Superego, Dick is Ego and Maggie is Id.
- Later in the film, Dick and Maggie switch roles.
- I'm Not Pretty: Jo tells Dick she couldn't possibly be a model, because her face looks funny.
- In Name Only: The film shares a title, four songs (not including the originally Cut Song), music composers (George and Ira Gershwin), and the leading man with the original stage musical. The plot, however, has nothing to do with it.
- MayDecember Romance: While ages aren't directly stated for the characters, Audrey was 30 years younger than Fred.
- Meaningful Echo: Jo subscribes to a philosophical current called "empathicism", which as the name implies, revolves around empathy. First mentioned in a conversation with Dick while they are trying to tidy up the bookstore, it becomes a bit of a theme at the climax with Maggie and her staff mobilizing to get Jo and Dick back together.
- Nerds Are Sexy: The bookish Jo is played by the beautiful Audrey Hepburn, and Dick ends up falling in love with her.
- No Celebrities Were Harmed: Dick Avery is based on photographer Richard Avedon, who served as a creative consultant on the film and actually took the photographs featured in it.
- Pimped-Out Dress: Numerous examples on of splendid late-1950s haute couture, and Audrey Hepburn's character is dressed, when we first see her, as the chic Hollywood version of a beatnik. In fact, this movie was one of the films that established Hepburn as a style icon.
- Pink Is Erotic: The colour pink is used to indicate sexual confidence and the song "Think Pink!" was to encourage confidence in women and invoke sensuality as shown by the naked woman using pink shampoo, the recreation of Jean-Honoré Fragonards The Swing (which was similarly about sensuality), and the sexually appealing outfits.
- Race for Your Love: Subverted; it only appears Jo does this at the end of the fashion show toward the end of the film, when all she knows is that Dick will be taking the next plane to New York; she had actually gone to the garden by the small church of the wedding dress shoot, which is where they first realized their feelings for each other.
- Remake Cameo: Fred Astaire starred in the original stage version of Funny Face in 30 years prior. The show went through numerous rewrites and a name change (from Smarty), and the film version has a completely different plot.
- She Cleans Up Nicely: The whole premise.