Classic: Pretty Woman (1990)

4/5* Shiv’s Show | Siobhan Divers

Dir: Garry Marshall

119 mins

Starring: Julia Roberts, Richard Gere, Ralph Bellamy, Ralph Bellamy, Jason Alexander, Héctor Elizondo, Laura San Giacomo.

A heartwarming, feel-good romcom, Pretty Woman is made by the incredible performance of lead Julia Roberts.

Following the life of Vivian Ward (Julia Roberts), Pretty Woman opens with Vivian and her best friend and flatmate Kit looking for business. Both girls are sex workers and work the Hollywood Strip.

When hopeless stranger, business mogul Edward Lewis (Richard Gere) stops on the Strip looking for directions, Vivian helps him out and before long he has set up a business proposition – he offers to pay her $3,000 if she stays with him for the week and goes as his plus one to a few business dinners.

Funny and charming from the outset, it’s not hard to see why Pretty Woman is regarded as a classic. Julia Roberts as the central character is entirely loveable and an incredible casting choice – despite the fact she was in 5 films prior to featuring in Pretty Woman, the 1990 romcom is essentially the film which kickstarted her career.

A controversial film at the time, Pretty Woman, now almost 30 years old, explores issues surrounding class, power and sex making it an extremely clever film as well as an entertaining one.

Vivian and Kit live in a lower class area and as sex workers, work in a job which is not regarded very highly by society.

By contrast, Edward is staying in the penthouse suite of a hotel and has a high-paying job.

Though it’s clear throughout who has the power – Vivian determines the price of her business transactions and retains the power over them as she doesn’t kiss them because it’s against her rules.

A forward thinking film for the time, the film’s charm comes from how memorable the main characters are and how original the premise actually seems despite being a play on the loveable rags to riches tale and Cinderella style story.

Romantic and modern, Pretty Woman is iconic.


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