In the movie Pretty Woman, Julia Roberts portrays a hooker struggling in Los Angeles. Richard Gere plays a very successful businessman. They cross paths when Edward (Richard Gere) gets lost while driving around and Vivian (Julia Roberts) is having a “slow” night on the corner. Edward asks Vivian for directions, and Vivian agrees for five dollars. She takes Edward back to his hotel where he asks her join him for the evening. The next morning, Edward makes a business proposition with Vivian, and pays her for a week to be at his “beck and call.” As the week progresses the two learn a lot about each other and the people the surround themselves with. In the end, they fall in love. Through out the whole movie, Edward’s lawyer, Philip Stuckey (Jason Alexander) is constantly in Edwards ear about everything involving Edwards life. He learns of Vivian and how her and Edward met, and made a few not-so-smart decisions. While Stuckey is in Edwards ear, Kit (Laura San Giacomo) is in Vivian’s ear. Kit is also a prostitute, struggling with the same issues Vivian is.
In the movie there is definitely a pattern of how males and females are portrayed. Males are seen as powerful, self-righteous, wealthy, and educated. Women, however, are seen completely different. They are seen as helpless, and our pitied. Even women who are in Edwards circle of friends, seem very needy towards their husbands/ boyfriends. Not once is there a businesswomen introduced in the movie. The movie definitely follows older versions of gender roles. Older roles that was prominent in the 1950’s and 1960’s. Such roles would be how successful the men were and how there are no successful women in the movie. Unless, the audience thinks that marrying a rich man or finding a rich boyfriend, is considered to be successful. Another example would be that the men are seen as powerful where women are not. Men are wealthy and the women are not, the list goes on of outdated roles. One must also realize that the roles in this movie are heavily exaggerated like any role in a movie would be. However, to a certain affect in a movie one must over exaggerate characters roles in order to pull in an audience.
Through out the movie, there were times when actors acted like cliché stereotypes. Edward’s lawyer, Philip Stuckey, was very stereotypical, flamboyant, and showed off his money throughout the movie. He also made sure to remind people where they stand in the class system. Vivian’s friend/roommate, Kit, also portrayed a stereotypical role. She acted very needy and poorly mannered, just like a typical poverty stricken person. Even though there is a strong stereotyping presence in the movie, there is no ethnic or racial discrimination. Other than the limo driver, all of the actors/characters are all white for the most part. This movie is geared more towards stereotyping than discrimination.
After Edward hires Vivian for the week, she starts to turn from poor hooker to a classy socialite in just two days. It is amazing what money can do to/for a person in such a small amount of time. One of the main consistencies throughout the movie is the stereotypical role-playing. This is especially seen in Vivian after she has her transformation. Even though it does not have a strong presence, she because acclimated to the lifestyle and starts to have a certain persona. In just the few days, she already acts like the stereotypical trophy wife. All she does is shop all day long, go to dinner with Edward, and then gave him sex whenever he wanted. However, she quickly snaps back into reality towards the end of the movie when her and Edward depart from each other.
Throughout the film, inequalities between the classes show. Even towards the end when Edward and Vivian are about to part ways. He tells her about buying her an apartment and how she can go shopping whenever she wants to. Its as if he looks at her like a charity case....