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  Breakfast at Tiffany's (1961)
 
Audrey Hepburn; Photo courtesy of Paramount/The Kobal Collection

Before "Sex and the City," this film's heroine was the epitome of the single, upscale New York woman.

Holly Golightly is a fun-loving, free-spending socialite. She was created by flamboyant writer Truman Capote and the elegant Audrey Hepburn brings her to glamorous life on the big screen.

We meet Holly in the film's opening scene, as her most recent all-night date is ending and the sun is rising on the city. But instead of heading home, she is window shopping outside Tiffany's, nibbling on a breakfast pastry. Holly explains that she often heads to the luxury jeweler when life becomes too overwhelming because "nothing bad can happen to you there."

Obviously, Holly has never been in Tiffany's with a credit card. If she had, she would have learned, as many of us have, that lots of bad things can happen in a store if you use your plastic irresponsibly.

Of course, tawdry little financial details such as credit limits don't concern Holly. She decides that the best way to meet her material needs is to settle down with a rich husband. The rest of the movie follows Holly's quest for the perfect, wealthy man, a search complicated by her feelings for neighbor Paul, played by George Peppard. He's an aspiring writer with money issues of his own. He's a kept man.

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It's no surprise that Holly and Paul eventually end up in each other's arms to the strains of "Moon River" (Oscar for best song). And the audience is delighted that true love has won.

But as the credits roll, "Breakfast at Tiffany's" money message becomes as clear as one of that retailer's fine diamonds: Money plays a major role in every relationship and Holly and Paul now face the challenge of marrying not only each other, but their personal money management -- or mismanagement -- styles.

Holly certainly will have to learn to rein in her spending and live on a budget. And they face some tough decisions on how much to spend on their wedding and whether to merge their financial lives.

Once they resolve these monetary issues, they should be able, as the song goes, to cross Moon River in style.

 
 
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