Saturday, September 22, 2007

Pretty Woman

Pretty Woman; Romantic drama, USA, 1990; D: Garry Marshall, S: Julia Roberts, Richard Gere, Laura San Giacomo, Hector Elizondo, Jason Alexander, Ralph Bellamy, Hank Azaria, Amy Yasbeck

Edward is a rich, unhappy businessman who buys companies with the help of deceits. While driving a car one night at Hollywood Boulevard, he picks up prostitute Vivian and asks her for directions to a hotel. He is charmed by her wit and hires her for the night. But he realizes he likes her even more and hires her for the whole week in his hotel suite. He presents her as his girlfriend and in the end falls in love with her, changing into an honest man. Even though he back's out at first when she asks for commitment, he in the end picks her up at her apartment.

"Pretty Woman" achieved a great commercial success, earning over 178 million $ at the US box office, by which it even became a competition to other 1990 hits like "Ghost" and "Home Alone". Just like those two mentioned films, "Pretty Woman" is also dated today, too obvious in it's sloppy dramaturgy, but the main actress Julia Roberts delivered the performance of her career and won a Golden Globe as best actress in a motion picture musical or comedy and was also nominated for a BAFTA and an Oscar. For a Hollywood film, it's a substantially brave a provocative story: the main heroine Vivian is a - prostitute. But that was also the main reason why critics attacked it since it's unrealistic to the bone, only showing Vivian "serving" one costumer during the course of the whole film, the idealistic Edward who is nice, polite, cultured, handsome and rich prince charming, giving a wrong impression that glorifies prostitution. Truly, maybe the movie would have been better if it weren't so naive and if instead of a happy ending it chose to show the one written in the screenplay, namely that Vivian once again lands on the street. Still, as a modern fairytale, the story is uniquely touching and emotional, pleasant and gentle, containing some sort of neat flair, especially in the exposition after Edward picks up Vivian and places her in his hotel room (for instance, he is surprised when he notices her watching a film on TV and giggling like a little kid, but then she figures her assignment, becomes serious and starts to dandle him) or when he takes her to watch the opera "La traviata" in which a man falls in love with a courtesan, and the song "It Must Have Been Love", written by Roxette, is truly enchanting.


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