I first saw The Talented Mr. Ripley when I was in high school and I became immediately infatuated with it. I would watch it so much and get so into it that my mother developed a long standing hate for Matt Damon (seriously just mention his name and she’ll frown and go ugh). Because of this love I am surprised I haven’t done a post on Ripley yet because I think on top of just being a great movie it is also visually stunning. From the clothes to the locations Talented Mr. Ripley is an absolute treat for the eyes which is why I wanted to write about not only the film, but also some of the amazing style exhibited throughout it.
I wasn’t quite sure how to approach this post because I didn’t want to give too much about the movie away for those of you who haven’t seen it and I also really wanted to focus on the characters style because I think that not only is it amazing to look at it also tells so much about who these people are. So I ended up coming to the conclusion the best way to approach this was to break it down by character and give a little information about each one. Before I do that though for the people who don’t know anything about this movie it is about a man named Tom Ripley who has spent his life looking in on the lives of the rich, but never having the means to be one of them. One day thanks to a case of mistaken identity Tom gets hired to go to Italy to retrieve Dickie Greenleaf, the son of a rich businessman, only once Tom meets him they become fast friends. He gets wrapped up in their world never wanting to leave it and ends up getting stuck in a spiral of lies after an altercation with Dickie.
The main character Tom is the classic fish out of water and his clothes reflect that. He often tries to look and act like he thinks the elite kids around him would and he always ends up just missing the mark. The image above is the perfect example of this, its the first time Tom meets Marge and Dickie and in an effort to look like them he gets these ridiculous green swim trunks that make him look even more out of place. And its Tom’s drab clothes that tip Dickie off to the fact he might not actually be one of them. As the movie goes on Tom gets better at morphing himself into one of the rich kids, but as more people start asking who exactly is Tom Ripley his excessive caricature of the the rich rings less and less true.
Marge and Dickie
Marge and Dickie are vacation couple goals. They have spent quite a bit of time lounging around in Italy and they have the perfect laid back Italian style. I still want all of Marge’s amazing skirts and cute little peasant tops which define her style in the beginning of the movie. Dickie also perfectly pulls off the cropped pants, fantastic hats, and shoes with no socks better than anyone on the planet. They embody the idea of laid back rich kids without any troubles and because of their carefree nature they blend in with the locals effortlessly.
As the tone of the movie gets darker so do the clothes and their carefree attitudes, with their vacation stye getting traded in for something a little darker and more sophisticated.
Like Tom, Meredith is a little bit of a fish out of water. She is one of the rich kids and runs in the same circles as Dickie and Marge, but there is something slightly more elitist and cold about her. Her style is sophisticated old Hollywood glam and she never really switches it up and takes on the vacation vibe like the others. This could be why she takes a liking to Tom because she senses something different about him and assumes that he like her doesn’t really mesh well with the Marges and Dickies of the world.
Freddie is your textbook sneering rich playboy. He is elitist, mean, and believes the world is his personal playground. His style reflects this in that it is perfect for each occasion while also having just a little something there to show he is above you. Dickie pulls off effortless with ease because it is truly who he is, Freddie attempts effortlessness because he thinks its situation appropriate. In actuality he doesn’t want to blend with the locals he wants to keep them at a distance.
Yeah it may not technically be a character, but Italy has such an impact on both the style and the narrative of the film itself I have to include it. Italy is the stunning backdrop to a story about the things we will do in order to feel like we truly belong.
I hope I inspired you to check out this movie if you haven’t and if you have seen it do you love it or hate it? Let me know in the comments below.