Sunday, April 21, 2019

Pretty Woman

Movie Name: Pretty Woman
Year of Release: 1990
Director: Garry Marshall
Starring: Julia Roberts, Richard Gere, Laura San Giacomo, Hector Elizondo, Jason Alexander, Ralph Bellamy, Alex Hyde-White, Amy Yasbeck, Hank Azaria, Larry Miller, Robyn Peterson, Patrick Richwood
Genre: Comedy
Score out of ten (whole numbers only): 4 
Watch it on Amazon

Synopsis and Review:
Actor/Writer/Producer/Director Garry Marshall was fresh off a successful 80s string of films, which included "Overboard" and "Beaches" when he decided to tackle "Pretty Woman". The film based on a script by J.F. Lawton had a very different tone, which was of course altered during filming and in post production, and resulted in one of the biggest hits of 1990 and further launching Julia Roberts career. The film follows the story of Vivian Ward, a young woman who is also a prostitute, in the Hollywood area. One evening she meets a man, whom she assumes is a client, but turns out to be lost. His name is Edward Lewis, and he's in town to address some corporate business, alongside his attorney. What starts as a casual meetup, and a simple case of providing directions, evolves into something more, as Edward hires Vivian to be his escort for the week. During that week it is her job to attend social gatherings with him, and generally always be available to him (day and night). Unexpectedly though, they both develop feelings for each other, and end up impacting each others lives in ways that none of them had predicted. 
"Pretty Woman" is a very slight film, that takes the typical Cinderella story (which in itself is a narrative that has existed for centuries, and has become a classic thanks to the writings of Charles Perrault and the Brothers Grimm), where a destitute girl, meets a man of wealth, both falling in love and building a life together. "Pretty Woman" mixes this somewhat typical premise, by introducing the concept that Vivian is a prostitute, living in a shoddy situation, surrounded by some bleak scenarios and counterparts, and Edward is the man who comes in to save her from that whole nightmarish ordeal. It's very much a fairytale, one where the tone of the narrative is a bit all over the place, and one where the roles of men and women are somewhat drawn in clichés, but looking past that, it's a romantic story anchored on the chemistry of the leads, and the charm, energy and charisma brought forth by Julia Roberts. The film effectively launched her career to great heights and lives mostly from her ability to navigate both drama and comedy effectively, making the character feel more than just a stereotype. While the prostitution angle is never effectively sold (she comes across more as an 80s Halloween costumed version of what a prostitute is), the rest of the film plays very superficially like a romantic comedy between two charismatic leads. The rest of the cast, including Richard Gere, Hector Elizondo, Laura San Giacomo are all equally effective and captivating. A slight film worth watching for its cast.