You gonna love this movie. I was impressed by so many aspects of it. A man in a legal but hurtful business needs an escort for some social events, and hires a woman he meets… only to fall in love.
Pretty Woman is a 1990 American romantic comedy film. Written by J.F. Lawton and directed by Garry Marshall, the film features Richard Gere, Julia Roberts and Hector Elizondo. Pretty Woman’s plot centers on down-on-her-luck Hollywood prostitute Vivian Ward who is hired by a really wealthy businessman, Edward Lewis, to be his escort for several business and social functions, and their developing relationship over the course of Vivian’s week long stay with him.
Originally intended to be a dark drama about prostitution in New York, the film was re-conceptualized into a romantic comedy with a broader budget. The film was a critical success and became one of 1990’s highest grossing films, and today is one of the most financially successful entries in the romantic comedy genre, with an estimated gross of $464 million USD. Roberts received a Golden Globe Award for her role, and received a nomination for an Academy Award, in addition screenwriter J.F. Lawton was nominated for a Writers Guild Award and a BAFTA Award. The film was followed by a string of similar romantic comedies, including Runaway Bride (1999), which re-united Gere and Roberts under the direction of Garry Marshall once again.
Edward Lewis, a successful business man and “corporate raider”, takes a detour on Hollywood Boulevard to ask for directions. Receiving little help, he encounters prostitute Vivian Ward who is willing to assist him in getting to his destination. After a car conversation, Edward ends up hiring Vivian to stay with him for a week as an escort for social events, Vivian advises him that it “will cost him”, and he gives her $3000 and access to his credit cards. Vivian then goes shopping on Rodeo Drive, only to find that she is snubbed by saleswomen who disdain her because of her appearance. Initially, Hotel Manager Bernard Thompson (Elizondo) is also somewhat taken aback by her, but relents, and decides to help her buy a dress, even coaching her on dinner etiquette. Edward returns and is visibly amazed by Vivian’s transformation. The business dinner is successful, but Edward is preoccupied with the deal afterward.
Vivian explains to Edward about her humiliation at the clothing boutique on Rodeo Drive the previous day. Edward takes Vivian on a shopping spree, after which she returns to the same shop that had snubbed her, telling the salesgirls they made a “huge mistake”. The song “Oh, Pretty Woman” sets the scene for the famous shopping montage in the film. The following day, Edward takes Vivian to a polo match where he is interested in networking for his business deal. While Vivian chats to David Morse, the grandson of the man involved in Edward’s latest deal, Philip becomes worried she is a spy. Edward reassures him by telling him how they met, and Philip then comes on to Vivian. When they return to the hotel, she is furious with Edward for telling him, and plans to leave, but he apologizes and persuades her to see out the week.
Edward leaves work early the next day and takes Vivian on a date to the Opera in San Francisco in his private jet. She clearly is moved by the music, and says “If I forget to tell you later, I had a wonderful time tonight.” The two then make love, in a personal rather than professional way. Over breakfast, Edward offers to put her up in an apartment so he can continue seeing her, but she feels insulted and says this is not the “fairytale” she wants. He then goes off to work without resolving the situation. Kit comes to the hotel and sees that she has fallen for him, although Vivian denies it.
Edward meets Morse, about to close the deal, and changes his mind at the last minute. His time with Vivian has shown him another way of living and working, taking time off and enjoying activities for which he initially had little time. As a result, his strong interest towards his business is put aside. He decides that he would rather help Morse than overtake his company. Philip is livid, and goes to the hotel. Vivian is there and he blames her for changing Edward, then comes onto her again and then hits her.
Edward returns and pulls Philip off of Vivian and makes him leave. Vivian leaves, and is seen back at home with Kit, packing up to leave for San Francisco to get her life together. Edward gets into the car with the chauffeur that took her home, and rather than going to the airport, he goes to her apartment and climbs up the fire escape, despite his fear of heights, with a rose in his teeth, to woo her. His leaping from the white limousine, and then climbing the outside ladder and steps, is a visual urban metaphor for the knight on white horse rescuing the “princess” from the tower, a childhood fantasy she’d told him about. The film ends as the two of them kiss on the fire escape.