In a cultural moment where everyone from world-famous models to members of the royal family are beginning to speak out about miscarriage, a new documentary is shedding a light on how pregnancy loss impacted the life of one of Hollywood’s greatest icons. In Audrey—which was released internationally today—filmmaker Helena Coan sheds a light on the secret sadness that underpinned Audrey Hepburn’s seemingly-charmed life.
In what may be the most intimate portrait ever created of the star, the documentary details Audrey’s tumultuous childhood in wartorn Europe, including the divorce of her parents and the abrupt departure of her father, who abandoned his family to join the Fascist party in Britain. Hepburn called her father’s leaving “the most traumatic event of my life”, and in Audrey close friends and family argue it left a lifelong void in her life.
Hepburn’s son, Sean Hepburn Ferrer, appears in the documentary, revealing the deep, life-long sadness that came after his mother suffered two miscarriages, including a late-term loss of a daughter who died at six months. “I know that the second loss was, which was at six months [in the pregnancy], was very hard,” Ferrer told Sky News in an interview today. “It was a little girl and she was going to be my older sister.”
He says the cultural taboo around discussing miscarriage—a taboo that is slowly being broken down, thanks to the bravery of women like Chrissy Teigen and Meghan Markle—added an extra level of shame and sadness to the experience. “We all came from a culture of you got to keep moving, you got to keep going. It was typical of that generation not to be coochie coochie and warm and fuzzy… Disney introduced that concept.”
While the film—which was created by the award-winning producers of the 2018 fashion documentary McQueen and is already receiving rave reviews—touches on some of the darker moments of Hepburn’s life, it is, above all, a celebration of one of Hollywood’s most enduring icons. Clare Waight Keller appears to discuss the lifelong relationship Hepburn had with Hubert de Givenchy, while Richard Dreyfuss discusses working with the two-time Oscar winner on the 1989 film Always. For those who are fans of Hepburn’s eclectic work and impeccable personal style (and aren’t we all?), Audrey is 2020’s newest must watch.