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30 Years Later: Pretty Woman

1 June 20 words: Katie Green

Celebrating its 30th anniversary, Katie Green looks back on this romantic classic starring Richard Gere and Julia Roberts, which shares similarities with George Bernard Shaw’s Pygmalion.

Director: Garry Marshall
Starring: Julia Roberts, Richard Gere
Running time: 119 minutes

Pretty Woman is the story of an unlikely pairing that comes together in Hollywood. We have Edward Lewis, the billionaire businessman who doesn’t “build anything” but buys companies and sells them for an even higher price. As he makes a trip to Hollywood Boulevard, he meets prostitute Vivian Ward, and the two form “an unlikely friendship”. 

Edward hires Vivian for one week for the bargain price of $3000, as he needs someone who is a professional and isn’t looking for love (well, that’s what he thinks). As the week progresses - and with the help of money - Vivian moves away from the person she was and transforms into the sophisticated young woman she is at heart. 

As their bond grows stronger, and with outside parties interfering, both have to question what they really want and if it really is love they have.

Coming from a true admirer of the romance genre, Pretty Woman is one of the finest I’ve seen. What a romantic film needs to do well is to include actors that represent a believable bond between the two main characters, and Richard Gere and Julia Roberts do just that. 

The chemistry between these two characters is unbreakable and the intimate moments they share on screen together allow you to become so engrossed into their relationship and experience the love that is growing between them. 

Offers everything you could want from a romantic film

What makes the viewing even more intense is the background music when these intimate moments are shared. A key scene that stands out is the night after they attend a polo match, whilst Vivian is getting ready for bed she enters the room while Edward is asleep. 

She slowly makes her way towards him and kisses him on the lips - something they both said they wouldn’t do. The heat grows between them, and then follows the calming and slow music that lures us into their deep love.

Director Garry Marshall continues his fine work with this triumphant piece as it is an added benefit to see a familiar cast we have seen in some of the director’s previous work including The Princess Diaries, Raising Helen and Runaway Bride – a film which also sees Richard Gere and Julia Roberts in the starring roles. 

It is hard to find fault in Pretty Woman as it offers everything you could want from a romantic film. A love so strong that we become engrossed in it, an unusual plot that makes the story more interesting and a great soundtrack that foreshadows the romantic plot - including the main theme It Must Have Been Love by Roxette. 

Ultimately, Pretty Woman is a romance that must be watched to witness the chemistry between Richard Gere and Julia Roberts - as well as to see a new twist on a true classic such as Pygmalion

Did you know? Al Pacino was considered for the role of Edward and even did a casting reading with Roberts before rejecting the part. Gere also initially refused, but Roberts persuaded him to change his mind.

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