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The 1995 remake of Sabrina is a true classic and one of my favorite movies. But there is one thing about it that has always bothered me. Linus Larrabee spends more than half the film faking that he likes Sabrina, all to derail her imminent romance with David Larrabee. And then when Linus sends Sabrina to Paris and everything blows up, we're supposed to believe that Linus is actually in love with Sabrina, and further, that's he's more right for her than David.

I never bought it.

I've been watching this movie for 20 years and I have never been convinced that Linus really loves her. I understand that he felt extreme guilt in the end, which led to the confession. So we see that he's not a monster, just a greedy businessman willing to get dirty in order to clinch a billion-dollar merger. I buy that.

I understand that at the end she says, "I thought it was all a lie." And Linus replies, "It was a lie. And then it was a dream." And you could certainly argue that he wouldn't have rushed to Paris to be with her if he didn't love her. But I'm stuck. This brilliant work of filmmaking just seems to finally unravel when we're made to believe that Linus and Sabrina are really in love and it's a perfect match. (I believe she loves him, just not the reverse.) The yarn unravels and I'm jolted out of the film, feeling like I've just been conned, and that I'm witnessing a movie trying to lie to me.

I would love to hear some film aficionados' opinion on this, and would be appreciative to learn why I am wrong, and why it's true and authentic that Linus really does love Sabrina.

  • I don't have the problem you have, but one argument is that perhaps just the actors' chemistry felt off to you, rather than it being execution or the story itself. IMO the subtext of the film is about a girl becoming a woman and a man no longer just seeing a child--so as David is more childish adolescent character and as Sabrina grows up, we see that Linus is more right for her, because she has changed over the course of the film. I'm not saying someone has like this idea, just that I think that is what the concept is. Also David doesn't change, Linus does (so Sabrina had an effect on him) – Darth Locke Oct 26 '17 at 21:03
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    David doesn't change? @DarthLocke I disagree. David has decided to settle down and literally get down to business... his changing makes it possible for Linus to go to Paris at all. – Catija Oct 26 '17 at 21:28
  • True, that does suggest a change, however he was on the verge of settling down prior to when Sabrina comes home--it might be that realized that he had what he really wanted all along, but you're right Sabrina does factor into that, but I just think Linus is a more dramatic change. – Darth Locke Oct 26 '17 at 21:35
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    I don't think he was on the verge of settling down. David's like a "runaway bride"... uh... groom. He's had a history of several engagements that didn't last, so there was no way to know that he was actually going to go through with it... and even if he had married, he likely wouldn't have gone to work at Larrabee. – Catija Oct 26 '17 at 21:43
  • For some reason I thought he was a former playboy, I don't remember that he was a serial engagement-or LOL?! It's been a while since I watched the film. – Darth Locke Oct 26 '17 at 21:59
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I love this film... and it's one of few films I share equal love for both the original and the remake.

I've personally never had the problem that you do. I think the story is compelling and clear. Linus loves Sabrina and she loves him.

You said it yourself... Why would Linus find her in Paris if he didn't love her? He'd already solved the problem... there was no need to chase her otherwise. David is sticking with his fiance and facilitating the merger with Tyson and Sabrina has everything she needs to stay in Paris for as long as she likes, between Linus' offer and her father's money. He must love her. That's the only reason he would chase after her.

So, why don't you feel it? Well, I wonder if at least part of it could be attributed to Ford's let's call it "wooden" romantic performance. Linus is supposed to be stiff, driven, and single-minded. Utterly analytical and unfeeling. This is a great role for Ford, who often comes off as a pretty flat romantic performer. He's a great straight-man (Han Solo), can carry a film as a dramatic lead (Blade Runner), plays a good clueless romantic (Indiana Jones, Han Solo)... but he's really not much of a romantic lead. Even in one of my favorite films, Working Girl, a romantic comedy, his character seems to be generally romantically inept... which is part of what makes him in it cute.

This, then, makes you wonder if it wasn't intentional. Linus, like Ford, probably has difficulty expressing love. They spend much of the film showing that he's pretty "above" those feelings, if only because he's so involved with work. So, perhaps it makes sense that when he finally figures it out and expresses himself, he'd seem a bit stiff. He's doing this for the first time and struggling with how he feels.

But Linus has certainly done the "work" of falling in love. For all that he seems disconnected to Sabrina, he actually recognizes her when she returns from Paris initially, seems informed about where she was and what she was doing there, understands her interests enough to come up with things for them to do together that would make her interested in him over his brother. This may be an overly analytical way of deciding what "love" is but I'll go a step further.

We don't really know how long Sabrina has been home from Paris. It's probably a few weeks. Would a couple generally be even thinking about declaring love for each other after a month of dating? Unlikely. And these two haven't even been "dating", they've been spending a lot of time together, sure, but that's not really the same thing. Perhaps the reason you don't buy it is that... well... it's a bit far fetched. But, well, it is a movie.

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    Catija, you nailed it. I believe it's Ford's performance that caused my incredulity. When it came to falling in love, he just didn't sell it. I wasn't believing he was in love. A different actor in that role may have produced a very different result for me. – HerrimanCoder Oct 26 '17 at 22:37
  • I'm really not sure why you think dating is required for falling in love or declaring it. I've long been of the mind that your best match is someone who you like being with even when things aren't stereotypically romantic. In that view, it's really only after you've already been together not dating for a while and start to realize your feelings that it makes any sense to talk about having a date named as such. – jpmc26 Oct 27 '17 at 0:34
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    @jpmc26 Dating is irrelevant. The important thing is time... a few weeks isn't really that time. Note that "dating" is in quotes... They're not in any sort of relationship with the goal of falling in love, they're largely doing things that are transactional - "take photos of my cottage I want to sell" for example. – Catija Oct 27 '17 at 1:12

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