Perched high in a tree overlooking the elegant garden of the Larrabee family’s Long Island estate, young Sabrina (Julia Ormond) watches and dreams. She is the chauffeur’s lovesick daughter with a crush on the younger Larrabee son, David (Greg Kinnear). She follows David’s every move at the lavish garden parties as he charms beautiful women. Sabrina’s preoccupation with David concerns her widowed father (John Wood), and through Mrs. Larrabee, he arranges for his daughter to work in Paris as a photographer’s assistant. When she returns a year later, Sabrina is a beautiful, poised young woman. Playboy David, who never noticed her before, is completely dazzled by her, even though he is engaged to another. But older brother, Linus (Harrison Ford), sees the budding romance threatening David’s engagement, which is part of a potentially very lucrative business arrangement. The workaholic Linus attempts to distract Sabrina from David by spending time with her himself and in the process learns what a boor he is. He finds out his associates refer to him as “the only living heart donor.” SABRINA is a light-hearted, funny romantic Cinderella story with lush settings and beautiful music.
One of the most refreshing aspects of SABRINA is its lack of objectionable material, even though it’s set in the 1990s. Usually “clean” movies are those taking place at least 40 or 50 years ago, like A WALK IN THE CLOUDS or I.Q. Sabrina’s loving relationship with her father is also very uplifting. He adores her and she expresses her love and respect for him several times. A few exclamatory profanities and crudities are spoken, and there is much social drinking throughout. A distraught Sabrina, upset on the eve of her departure for Paris, is shown drinking sherry out of a bottle. Violence is limited to David injuring himself when he sits down, forgetting he has two champagne glasses in his back pocket. Another time David socks Linus in the jaw. Sabrina has a brief romance while she is in Paris, but she refuses to have sex with the young man. Although David is a womanizer who no doubt has had many lovers, there are no on-screen sex scenes. SABRINA rates high marks overall for its wholesome treatment of love in the 90s.