Pretty Woman (1990)
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ok, so pretty woman is a romantic movie, its cliched, its corny, its sappy. but hey, beyond all that is a special movie with some very special performances. julia roberts as vivian ward is absolutely adorable, one of the most lovable characters of alltime. and those long legs help - like she says - " 88" of therapy for the bargain price of $3000"
the movie has many memorable lines and if you fall in love with the movie you will go back to it again and again. this is easily the best romantic comedy movie of the 90s. though many movies have hence tried to recreate its charm, nothing has quite succeeded to replace this movie as the pinnacle of the genre.
and this ofcourse is high praise from someone who hates the genre. the story ofcourse is very predictable and cinderella like. however this is beautifully told and the on-screen chemistry between the very dashing richard gere and julia roberts is simply sensational. an absolute must for fans of romance, comedy, any kind of light hearted movies or for those who are big fans of julia or richard. watch this movie.
an enjoyable 8!
I haven't read any IMDb reviews of this yet, I wanted to comment first. This is a lovely story of hope and the true purity of falling madly in love-there are so many movies that try to be romantic and inevitably come across looking forced and contrived. The story and acting in Pretty woman, while very obviously being "Hollywood" to a tee, are so natural and free flowing, that it's just a joy to watch this. It's also great to see(in what's not usually the case) a romantic comedy that gets it right, in every area from casting to dialog to pretty much everything from start to finish. Great movie!
A lovely dream, one very old: rescuing a prostitute from the street. (Not in Woody Allen's sickish-moody way.)
However, if you wish to dream this one, be sure you do NOT start to think very logically . . . She is healthy, not on drugs, not on alcohol, not even a smoker; no syphilis, no gonorrhea, no AIDS wounds on her legs, nothing, she is just perfectly absolutely healthy. Body and mind. She is not a criminal, not inclined to steal anything, she even values love and dignity more than money. Oh, she has no pimp, who would be the other man (other than Richard Gere) in her life; nobody to protect her from smart types who walk off without paying; the pimp would explode the whole romance instantly. (Instead, a girl friend.)
She has a golden soul, full of goodness, and loves art, and feels for art. High-society types around them appear silly, artificial, stuffy. (Different forks.) She is natural. She even was a good student (!) and . . . might be again? She loves to bathe, and half the time we see her happy in the bath tub (which is a powerful signal and symbol for CLEAN, CLEAN; she even sings so super-ultra-charmingly in the bath; she wants to wash off the foolishness of her previous few months of street. And she can do it.
But with all those qualities, WHY would she ever become a prostitute in the first place? Don't think, don't think. Just dream, it is lovely.
Rather than the plot itself, the beautiful Julia Roberts makes this movie...and not simply because of her 88 inches of leg! Always endearing in her roles, she is at her absolute MOST endearing portraying Vivian in this picture. She brings a real vulnerability to the role, showing us that just like everyone else, prostitutes do indeed floss their teeth! Richard Gere pulls off quite convincingly the role of Edward, the ruthless, calculating millionaire businessman, who takes over companies only to sell them off piece by piece, quite unmindful of the interests of any people involved. To give Gere credit, I was quite impressed that he actually plays the piano in one of the movie's scenes.
Naturally, given Vivian's membership in the 'oldest profession', there is sex early on...though I, old fashioned and strict as I am, wouldn't hesitate to let my young teen see this movie. (There's worse in TV commercials today!) Oddly, the most truly intimate moment in this film is not during the more explicit sex but rather, simply a kiss.
Ohhhh, lots of romantic scenes, from a picnic in the park to jetting off in a private plane for a Big Night on the Town. And etiquette lessons...Vivian displays charming, amusing, curious innocence when she experiences with Edward her first opera (all the while looking knock out gorgeous in a stunning red gown), her first polo match, and her introduction to escargots. As the movie progresses, she is transformed Pygmalion style, from the street smart hooker provocatively dressed in tall black boots and mini skirt, to a sophisticated looking, elegantly gowned and coiffed young lady. But it's merely appearance...Vivian's heart of gold and her vulnerability both remain unchanged.
The status conscious snobbery of Beverly Hills dress shops and ritzy hotels, judging people by wealth and class, is well depicted here. When Vivian goes shopping for a 'more appropriate' wardrobe at some exclusive Rodeo Drive boutiques, she is not 'well received' by the sales ladies, who like all too many of us, are overly inclined to judge by appearance. You'll want these snobs to get their comeuppance. Actually, perhaps the most touching relationship in this entire film is the one between Vivian and Barney, the quite proper but kind desk manager at the high class hotel (where she is sharing a penthouse suite with Edward), who is able to see beyond appearance. He develops a genuine fondness and even more importantly, respect for her.
Other characters of interest...Kit is Vivian's appealing and sympathetic room-mate, also a hooker (Vivian's a loyal friend), and Stuckey is Edward's sleazy and despicable business colleague, portrayed by Seinfeld's Jason Alexander, a TV show which I must confess is not my favourite.
As events unfold during the film, it becomes clear that, while Edward might not understand too clearly the meaning of 'prostitution', Vivian clearly does. And, it's another shining film illustration of that pearl of wisdom from Eliza Doolittle (of My Fair Lady) who enlightened us, 'The difference between a flower girl and a lady is not how she behaves, but how she is treated.' Or, in Vivian's own words, 'People put you down enough, you start to believe it'.
Great Cinderella movie...don't miss it.
Julia Roberts is great in romantic comedies and especially with this movie (and 'Notting Hill') she proves this. With Richard Gere she has a perfect chemistry and in the end that is all we want to see. That Roberts is a prostitute and Gere a very rich man, living in a penthouse, make things only more interesting, joke-wise. One of the better romantic comedies made in the past and definitely one to watch again. And again. And may be again.
The scene at the end of the movie in which Elizondo (as hotel manager, "Barney" Thompson) kisses Roberts' hand, when she extends it for a handshake, and says, "come back and see us, again, sometime," never fails to tug at my heart. I mean, these two have really gone through some character development, together. In Elizondo's final scene in the movie, he agrees to return a necklace and matching earrings, given to him by Richard Gere, to the store he borrowed them from. Elizondo opens the jewelry box and says, "it must be difficult to part with something as beautiful as this." Of course, he's not talking about the jewelry, he's talking about Julia Roberts who parted company with Gere (reluctantly) the day before. This sets in motion the BIG reconciliation scene on the fire escape of Roberts' seedy apartment. Yeah, I know, this movie is about as believable as the Red Sox winning the World Series, but - to me - it's a veritable delight from beginning to end. No matter how low I feel, this movie ALWAYS brings a smile to my face. So, WHAT'S so wrong with that? As a matter of fact, Cinemax is showing this movie TWICE, tomorrow - at 6:15 a.m., and again at 4:00 p.m. I'll be in the viewing audience, too. Why? "It's the best!" I know what you're thinking: WHY doesn't he just tape it? Well, I did. However, I like it better when I know OTHER people are watching it at the same time as me. You know, like sitting in a movie theatre? The best part is knowing that at least some of these people are watching for the first time. How I envy them!
While visiting Los Angeles for a week, Edward Lewis borrows his friend's car and gets lost on Hollywood Boulevard... He asks a hooker for directions... She proposes to help him for 5 dollars... For $20, she accepted to show him where the stars live...
Edward invites her to join him in his hotel suite, but not for sex...
Enjoying her company, he offers her to be his 'date' for a series of business activities including a strategic dinner and a pool match... Out of the 'bargain,' she gets $3,000 cash, a classier wardrobe and a visit to the opera...
All the characters of the film are convincing, original and sympathetic, feeling comfortable with each other... Director Gary Marshall did a great job...
Ideal for the role is Richard Gere... He plays the terrific rescuer who 'free' Vivian from the streets conducting her to his penthouse suite... He is handsome, charming and shy... 'Henry Higgins' at his best... But Edward Lewis is a millionaire... He buys companies that are in financial difficulty... He takes them apart and sells the pieces for more than he paid for the whole... "It's strictly business", he tells Vivian... "You and I are both such similar people. We both screw people for money." Edward's only defect is that he hurts what he loves... He wins a certain imaginative power by how painful that treason is...
Julia Roberts plays Vivian Ward, an attractive and smart hooker with a heart of gold... She gives her character a great sense of humor, charming Edward with her honesty... She is intensely appealing and amusing, making any man feel comfortable...
Into the snobbish clothing store, she delivers a great exit line, just devastating the saleswomen... The song is terrific as the scene... In the hotel lobby, she walks in a 'killer' red dress... She learns which fork to use in the formal dinner meeting, projecting an escargot through the air... At the opera she innocently asks: "Where's the band?"
There's more than a touch of Eliza Dolittle in her role, specially when she decides she wants more from Edward than money... She gets the perfect rescue scene with a limousine, a fire escape, a balcony, birds, music and red flowers...
Hector Elizondo turns a supporting role into more than that... He plays the formal, intolerant hotel manager... He takes an affection to his best customer's "niece" and trains her on which fork to use at a fancy dinner... His amusing performance as Edward's smooth competent hotel manager nearly shapes Roberts and Gere...
Ralph Bellamy is incredibly good as the aging millionaire, creator of a small company Edward is trying to take to pieces...
Laura San Giacomo plays Vivian's pal roommate, her first role since she played the amorous sister in "sex, lies & videotape."
"Pretty Woman" is a contemporary Hollywood fairy tale, a sweet romantic comedy, an innocent love story in the middle of self-interest and agreement... It remains as an entertaining motion picture that had women calling out the delights of true love...
Keep on dreaming!
The original script was intended as a very dark, cautionary tale about class warfare and prostitution in the Los Angeles area. It was then completely revamped as a high budget romantic comedy. As a result, it became one of the most successful box office movies of all time.
First, while there are probably many handsome johns - they rarely are as good looking as Edward (Richard Gere). Nor are they as respectful. Well, maybe on one of those sugar baby websites. But that's different than picking up some random dude on the street like Vivian (Julia Roberts) did.
After their first sexual encounter, Edward hires Vivian for the week to "escort" him to social events. So she's giving it up for a whole week for 3K? Maybe that was the going rate in 1990. He also gives her access to his credit cards. I suppose that could make up for it -- and maybe there are some guys who have done that before. Seems like a stupid move to trust a woman who takes sex for money. She could run those things up in no time, especially in a ridiculously expensive town like L.A.
Vivian gets snubbed on Rodeo Drive. Well, that's believable, because anyone without their nose in the air gets snubbed there - street whore or not. But being snubbed at the hotel makes no sense. Many of those hotels make their living with high end prostitutes. Or at least bimbos who look like they are. Go to any fancy hotel and you will see decked out babes. Doesn't mean they're all whores -- but many of them look like they could be. I once found out in Vegas that many women who dressed up there were hookers. And I had a classy dress that revealed nothing - in fact, it wasn't even tight.
So we are supposed to believe that Vivian isn't capable of buying a dress or using utensils at the dinner table? Sorry, she is not street enough to believe that. She looks like some chick who ran away from Nebraska - not a down and dirty Hollywood whore. Or course, Heidi Fleiss had a stable of classy looking chicks. But that's the point - a woman who looks like Roberts is usually part of a service, not someone hanging out on the street.
I've heard that many johns like to tell their secrets and bare their souls to whores. So when Mr. Nice Guy reveals that he was estranged from his now dead father that could make sense. Because poor little Vivian was snubbed at the store, Edward comes to the rescue and takes her shopping.
I think the most dangerous thing about this film is that even though it is rated R, plenty of young girls have seen it. Glamorizing prostitution in any way is irresponsible. Some prostitutes may have married one of her johns. But that's something that happens less than the chance of winning the lotto.
Prostitution will always exist, but let's not make it out to be something it isn't. Sure, there are probably some happy hookers out there - but I've not met or heard of a single one. The truth is that most of the people I've seen or known of who have sex for money came from abuse, are on drugs or have very low self esteem.
This whole movie is so phony and full of lies -- not even the ad is real. They used a body double because little miss goodie two shoes herself -- Julia Roberts - while willing to play a street hooker - not only refused to do nude scenes, but the movie poster legs aren't hers, either. Or maybe she didn't look as good in the photo. I rest my case -- this movie is just a disgrace. I will agree that it deserved to be nominated for an Oscar and win some awards -- because so many movies are contrived, complete and utter nonsense.
Hokey? Definitely, but it's still a fun movie which has entertained most people who have watched it the past 15 years. Roberts and Richard Gere certainly make a handsome couple. Hector Elizondo almost steals the show with his minor role as "Barney," the hotel manager. He is definitely the most humorous character in the film.
It's a funny, charming and romantic film that was a big hit. Just don't believe it when Hollywood continues to glamorize the worst aspects of society, something it always does.
All in all, it is a movie which was done because someone found out that there was money to make on injured women, making them feel 'good' and 'experienced' over the sexual abuse they had been lured into by their vanity. You could also see the film as a commercial for prostitution. Cynically, you might agree that it's preferable to get money for the abuse instead of giving it away, but that is not the point that the movie makes, unfortunately. It's basically a Cinderella-story but 'Cinderella' in this case is a thoroughly used one and the prince is a moron. If all rich people were like him, then there would be no rich people. But, again, it is not the point of this movie to make you think that. No, no. The rich are all good and they all marry whores and yet they manage to keep their money and grace. If you believe that, you believe anything!
The second time I saw this was last night on TV. It still sucks.
As a love story this sucks. As having Julia portray a street hooker, this is repulsive. To me she was a librarian with a miniskirt and heels. She had no tough shell to her. She wasn't tortured, anguished, enraged, starving or anything else. Her "HOOKER" character was so flawed, like comparing a cubic zircon to a diamond. The two simply don't fit, no matter what they look like.
The ONLY cast I felt was worth watching was the 2 bitchy saleswomen, whom were excellently cast. They did such a fine job that I hated them for the few seconds that they were on screen. They had real definition, for the minor roles. OK, so the movie wasn't entirely trash...the two ignorant saleswomen saved the film.
Aside from those two women sales people, the rest of the cast...including the big names was just crap. Either everybody was an ass-kisser or had absolutely no reason to fill any dialog in the movie aside from just complimenting Julia Roberts or kissing ass to Richard Gere.
This was a movie about how when you walk around in high-heels and a tight skirt in Beverly Hills, people leer at you and guys who work in hotels gawk as if they just had a baseball bat struck to their face.
While in reality, the women who are dressed to the nines in Beverly Hills are hookers and prostitutes to a higher degree, but since they aren't wearing the gaudy Madonna looking jewelry or the patent boots, they can look down on the others who do.
The hotel cast was sickeningly sad to watch, and anybody who had any real character had less than a minute of screen time.
This is an insult to romantic movies, comedies, dramas and even to prostitutes who face wealthy customers on a daily basis with hopes of having their lives work out perfect.
The story is about Julia Roberts being PIMPED (yes PIMPED) by a multimillionaire in a business suit and limousine.
She is still owned, still told how to act, how to move, what to wear, what to say, where to go and what to do. He is more controlling than a street pimp, but the folks at Disney/buena vista butter it up to make it easier to swallow.
Had Richard Gere been a black man with a gold tooth and an AK-47 at his side instead of an attaché case, this movie would be about how a woman has to struggle to get away from the harshness of prostitution. Same story, different characters will make a very different outlook.
Oh yeah, change the white man for a black man or Asian or Spanish, have the land business deal be changed to a deal of weapons or narcotics and the entire concept of romantic comedy is thrown away.
As far as I'm concerned, Pretty Woman is still trash, dressed with ribbons and bows.
I didn't like it 15 years ago, when I didn't understand it and was led by the Hollywood hype. I hate it now that i can see past the pretty decorations that is called "love".
This movie is NOT a romantic comedy. It's a story on how to control a woman as long as you have the means and income to do so.
This is an insult to strong women, weak women and women in general, as well as to my television screen.
Do I hate it? Yes. Does it suck? Yes Would I recommend it to you? NO...well maybe if I really hated you.
Will this review get posted? We'll see.
Anywayz, that's all for now.
The makers of this film would like us to forget everything we have ever learned about prostitution that it takes place in an environment of corruption and is itself a cause of corruption, misery and disease in favor of the absurd notion that sex for hire is a convenient, appealing and pleasurable way for couples to meet and establish a love relationship.
The producers were very clever in hiring deadpan actor Richard Gere to present their false point of view to innocent viewers, because everything else about the movie smirks at the jades in the audience, not too subtly concealing its lewd in-jokes and boorish innuendo beneath a paper thin veneer of polish and elegance. Worst of all, it openly and chivalrously takes the part of prostitutes against those who may disapprove of them.
"Pretty Woman" is the type of manipulative movie that does everything it can to sell the audience on its values, without making an effort to distinguish between itself and real life. For suggestible viewers, it presents a danger that they may imitate what they see on screen, and then find out too late that real life is not anywhere near so pleasant or easy when it comes to dealing with low life criminals or the vulgar and licentious rich.
I once heard a very successful and well regarded professor of screen writing remark that "it's much better to be rich than to be poor." Not if it means flaunting a love of vice in this disgusting manner.
If all the prints of this film were chopped into guitar picks, the world would be a better place.
We all know pretty Woman is a chick flick but you can't avoid them all, they'll eventually get you. Pretty Woman for me does two things, two terrible horrible ghastly things, firstly it portrays prostitution as a career more akin to that of a dancer, you know with absolutely great friends, leg warmers lots of giggling, borrowing each others make up. You see in the reality of Pretty Woman the prostitute and this is a street walker Prostitute we're talking about here, has a great life, she's healthy happy with only the occasional whimper to explain her predicament. My feeling is this 'happy Hooker' type protagonist is a lot more palatable than an even nearly realistic character, which for me begs the question if you make a movie about a type of person but are too chicken scared to adorn that player with the characteristics familiar to that role then why do it? If I make a film about a chef but don't want him to cook or talk about food or wear a white hat then why make a film about a chef in the first place? By bailing out and turning the hooker into a respectable dancer type the story misses the point completely and consequently never indulges in any of the moral or social questions that it could have, what a cop out, really really lame.
Secondly, 'Pretty Woman' insults romance itself, Edward Lewis played by Richard Gere has no clue how to seduce or romance this 'lady' that is without his plastic friend, yep don't leave home without it, especially if you are a moron in a suit who has no imagination. 8 out of 10 of his romantic moments involve splashing cash in one way or another, even when he first meets her it's the Lotus Esprit turbo that does all the work, necklaces here diamonds there limos over there, money money money, where's the charm? where's the charisma, don't mention that attempt at the piano please.
Girls who like this film will also be girls who like shopping more than most. Guys who like this film will not even have realized that old Eddy has less charm than a calculator, as they probably don't either so it wont have registered. More importantly anyone who likes this film will hate 'Thieves Highway' a wonderful story of which part is based on the same subject.
I'll finish on a song:
Pretty woman hangin round the street Pretty woman, the kind I like to treat Pretty woman, I don't believe you You're not the truth No one could spend as much as you Mercy
Pretty woman, wont you pardon me Pretty woman, I couldn't help but see Pretty woman, and you look lovely as can be do you lack imagination just like me
Pretty woman, shop a while Pretty woman, talk a while Pretty woman, sell your smile to me Pretty woman, yeah, yeah, yeah Pretty woman, look my way Pretty woman, say you'll stay with me..and I'll pay you..I'll treat you right
But I just can't get beyond how morrally bankrupt this film is. Characteristic of Hollywood, the much more cynical original incarnation of the script (titled "3000") attempted to really look into the our seedy values behind money and prostitution. The fact that director Garry Marshall would take such material and twist it into hollywood shlock is therefore quite depressing. The worst part is that you can still see small remnants of the films roots (especially the beginning) which has been bleached out as much as possible.
What is this film really saying? It seems like greed, not love is the real answer (the scene where Roberts gets the gift of the Credit Card makes me want to vomit).
In summary, there are a lot of appealing elements on the surface of "Pretty Woman", but the underlying subject matter is disturbing and contradictory to the film's message. While I personally think this film deserves a 1, I'll give it a 5 in a nod to all you people out there who care only about how "cute" Richard and Julia look together in this movie.
For a real romantic comedy from this period, see "Sleepless in Seattle" instead.
I've seen other reviews. People go for the easy shots, saying that it's "hokey", that Julia Roberts is too pretty for a hooker, but then people move past that and talk about how much they love the movie anyway. No one seems interested in discussing the absolutely horrifying implications about love and relationships that this movie presents.
But first, I do have positive things to say about the lead actors. Julia Roberts is adorable (and I'm not normally a fan of hers), and her cute, fish-out-of-waterness is really the only thing that can make this movie tolerable. And as for Richard Gere -- well, I'm absolutely delighted that he is no longer appearing in movies.
The idea that this is a love story is absurd. There is no love, here. Gere's character of Edward is acquiring a woman to suit his every need. And Roberts' hooker Vivian would have gone through the exact same experience with literally any rich man. Because Edward is literally any rich man. He has absolutely no discernible personality beyond doing generic rich person things. There is a peculiar escalation of culture throughout the movie. It starts with "I Love Lucy" in the hotel room, moving up into dinner parties, the opera (which Edward claims to be part of his soul, although his passion for it never comes up again), polo (does anyone actually do that?), and a particularly laughable scene of him reading to Vivian from a book of "Shakespeare's Quotations". That last one actually makes a great metaphor for Edward's character. He is a book of quotations without a hint of an actual play.
Vivian is a terrible prostitute. But really, that's not fair, because she's not a prostitute at all. Apart from her clothes, Vivian has nothing about her to suggest a life of prostitution. At no point in the movie is anything said to suggest her past sexual activity. There is no pimp, no past john returning for another go. She doesn't even get cat-called like the other anonymous hookers seen on the street in the film's opening. No, instead we get a conveniently monogamous atmosphere between Vivian and Edward, where we don't even see any sexual contact between them until they've fallen properly "in love". But there was sexual contact; that's important to remember. It's important to remember that when he says "I never treated you like a prostitute," that he has, in fact, been paying her for sex. I have to wonder what qualifies as treating a woman like a prostitute in his twisted mind.
This movie is terribly unfair to prostitutes. Not just because it whitewashes the vulnerable woman actually suffering on the streets with a cute Cinderella story, but it's also unfair to the legitimate, independent, professional escorts, who are being represented by a doe-eyed sugar-daddy-seeker who thinks she's driving a hard bargain by charging a multimillionaire $300 a night.
Being a prostitute is the least relevant part of Vivian's character, because she conveniently solves Edward's every problem: from giving him directions, to showing him how to drive a stick-shift (insert innuendo here), to helping him tie a tie (yes, the man who has been wealthy his whole life and spends all his time in high-powered business meetings doesn't know how to tie a tie). Edward treats Vivian as an asset, and doesn't show any real emotion throughout the movie. Vivian likes money, and she conveniently falls for the guy who provides that money and attends to her every need.
There is no romance here.
My favorite scene in the movie is when Vivian and Edward are in bed, talking and Vivian goes on about how she ended up in Los Angeles to begin with by following a "bum" that her mother called her a "bum magnet" "If there was a bum within a fifty mile radius I was completely attracted to him." But the line that stuck with me the most was "When people put you down enough you start to believe it" and Edward replies "I think you are a very charming, very beautiful woman" Vivian's reply is full of emotion when she replies "The bad stuff is easier to believe...have you ever noticed that?" Which is true.
Maybe it's just me, but I think that this movie is just a fairytale, and fairytales are there to make you believe in something that is totally unbelievable. This movie gives you hope, shows you that even if your life is miserable, that even if you are a bum magnet; if you don't give up hope a millionaire in a Lotus might be just around the corner.
"Welcome to Hollywood, what's your dream? Some dreams come true, some don't, but this is Hollywood, always time for dreams so keep on dreaming" Words that ring so true.