Yes, Pretty Woman is the most dubious romantic comedy we’ve ever watched, but we can’t help but revel in its 1990s Los Angeles trashiness. Sure, Richard Gere’s character may be incredibly wealthy, but the whole movie is gloriously cheap when it comes to morality and True Love. It is the ultimate comfort watch and would you believe 25 years old this year? Are you 24 years old? Are you possibly a Pretty Woman baby?
It’s shamelessly romantic
Listen, Pretty Woman ain’t Tristan and Isolde, but the movie was made in 1990. It’s the love story we deserved after giving Reagan and Thatcher the run of the increased social inequity shop. The bare bones of the synopsis read as the ultimate in exploitative: a cold and ruthless businessman starts a relationship with a genuine and down on her luck sex worker. However, leading stars Julia Roberts and Richard Gere elevate this torrid tale to something timeless, and dare we say it, hopelessly romantic.
The beginning of the movie is especially stark, depicting Julia’s character Vivian getting ready for her night’s work. She meets Gere’s Edward and after a conversation about payment, joins him at his penthouse hotel apartment, only for these two lost souls to fall in love. And go to the opera. And do some NSFW things on top of a fancy hotel grand piano.
Trivia: The scene with the jewellery box was totally improvised. Gere and Roberts reprised their dynamite chemistry nine years later in the underrated Runaway Bride.
It gave us Julia
Praise be to Erin Brockovich. Julia had been building up a solid résumé by the time she landed Pretty Woman. Roles in cult movies Steel Magnolias and Mystic Pizza had her pinned as an actress of substance, but her role as the prostitute Vivian saw her career transformed.
The “Big Mistake! Big! Huge!” Scene
That scene where Vivian gets her capitalist revenge on those snooty boutique bitches? The definition of satisfaction.
And there’s this hilarious print from Irish illustrator Fuchsia MacAree if you want to give Julia and her iconic moment a place on the mantelpiece.
Whenever Richard Gere tries business speak
Richard Gere’s character is called Edward Lewis and is a vague millionaire businessman who tends towards the cut-throat in his professional dealings. He’s very shady, and not just for hiring a woman to sleep and hang out with him for the week.
Between all the bubble baths and polo matches, there’s a subplot involving Edward’s company trying to take over a smaller family-run business, and these scenes are brilliant. Nothing anyone says makes sense outside of the Monopoly instruction booklet. It’s all “Get his office on the phone!” and “At the price I’m paying you for your stock, you’re going to be a very rich man.”
While you’ll learn a twisted lesson in love, you won’t walk away from Pretty Woman with an MBA.
It taught us how to tackle cutlery in posh restaurants
Call us naïve Irish folk, but this film taught us how to tackle unnecessary cutlery situations when dining out. Vivian, dreading an engagement with her employer slash lover, seeks out the kindly hotel concierge for help with understanding the silverware. When you misbehave in a fancy restaurant, you disappoint your mother. When Julia Roberts lets an ‘escargot’ go flying across a dining room, she’s America’s sweetheart.
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