Produced by Reese Witherspoon’s media company Hello Sunshine, Something From Tiffany’s opens with two very different men shopping for gifts for their girlfriends. Ethan (Kendrick Sampson) and his younger daughter, Daisy (Leah Jeffries), are taking their time picking out the perfect engagement ring for Vanessa (Shay Mitchell). At the same time, Gary (Ray Nicholson) doesn’t have anything in mind beyond “hoping one of those blue boxes would do the trick.” On the way out of the store, a distracted Gary bumps into Ethan before getting hit by a taxi. Ethan stops to help and is later introduced to Gary’s girlfriend, Rachel (Zoey Deutch), and the pair hit it off. Of course, Ethan and Gary’s Tiffany’s bags got mixed up, which keeps the two couples in each other’s lives.
Rachel owns a restaurant and bakery called Gillini’s in New York’s Little Italy neighbourhood, while Ethan is a creative writing professor at UCLA hoping to author a new book. Rachel spends a lot of time cooking at both work and home. Her kitchen is always messy, with delicious food scattered everywhere, making her apartment warm and homely. Deutch exudes a natural goofiness and relatability that she brings to many of her characters. She plays Rachel with a positive attitude and a lively spirit, which perfectly complements Sampson’s calm and grounded Ethan. The pair are full of warmth and charisma, making them a delight to watch.
Gary is an up-and-coming tattoo artist who is often distracted by his ambition, leaving him with zero time-management skills. Rachel’s best friend, Terri (Jojo T. Gibbs), who works with her at Gillini’s and has a girlfriend called Sofia (Javicia Leslie), constantly doubts Gary and is always making jokes about him being late or not showing up at all. When Rachel sees the Tiffany’s box in Gary’s belongings, she wonders if it’s an engagement ring, but she doesn’t open it, because she would never be able to tie the bow as perfectly again.
Although the film is set at Christmas, it’s not overly Christmassy, and the holiday passes in the film’s first act and isn’t a central theme. Some early background music fits the festive season, but overall the score is soft and understated. It’s never louder than the characters’ dialogue, but many silent moments may make some uncomfortable.
Hello Sunshine puts women at the centre of the stories they create and are an enthusiastic supporter of strong female leads — to the point that they sell merch with “leading lady” and “strong female lead” on. All of the women in Something From Tiffany’s are “strong female characters,” making the film stand out. Rachel doesn’t need a man to fix her or solve her problems (in fact, none of the characters do). She’s a hard worker with big dreams and wants someone who will be her equal — something that isn’t explicitly stated in the film but is naturally felt. Terri easily detects bullshit and calls it out, forever honest with Rachel about Gary’s shortcomings. Vanessa, who works in the publishing industry and hates New York, is evident in her goals and knows what she wants. Daisy is a smart and thoughtful kid. She is engaged in the world around her and has a knack for picking up on social cues.
Directed by Daryl Wein, Something From Tiffany’s was written by Tamara Chestna, who adapted it from the book of the same name by Melissa Hill. The script seems well-adapted and expertly balanced, as each character gets enough screen time for us to get a true sense of who they are. Before the novel was published in 2011, producer Lauren Neustradter read the manuscript and loved it, but it wasn’t until she landed at Hello Sunshine that the book-to-script process was finally kicked into gear.
Witherspoon thought Something From Tiffany’s was the perfect story to adapt. In press materials, she said: “People are really missing the light, optimistic, romantic stories we all grew up with, and we want to create beautiful movies that are all resonant without sacrificing quality.” The film tells a tale as old as time; the classic will they, won’t they? I mean, of course, they will. But how will it happen? What’s the journey of these characters? While predictable, it’s still an engaging story executed admirably, thanks to key filmmaking components coming together, including script, direction, cinematography, and cast.
In addition to starring in the film, Deutch served as an executive producer. “I’m a better actor when I’m able to produce,” she said. In support of this, Neustradter said, “It was such a pleasure to work with Zoey as a producer and see how incredibly thoughtful she was, not just about Rachel, but about every character, every story beat. She was determined to make the best possible movie.” The details in each character are definitely noticeable, making them feel more real, which goes a long way. Even Rose Abdoo excels as Mary, the savvy Tiffany’s sales clerk. It’s a small role that she does so much with.
Something From Tiffany’s aims to be “an old-fashioned romance with a contemporary sensibility and natural humour,” which is something that it achieves with ease. It’s a story with no true villain, as the film works to make all characters relatable and easy to sympathize with. The film reminds us that people are different, life is full of surprises, and the journey of finding your true love is always a familiar and worthwhile story that will never go out of style.
Something From Tiffany’s premieres on Amazon Prime Video on December 9
by Toni Stanger