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Written by Victoria Joss
‘So what happens after he climbs up and rescues her?’
'She rescues him right back.’
A quote from the end of the movie, Vivian’s response sums up the modern take that Gary Marshall has approached this ‘Cinderella’ storyline with. It fully negates the idea of the damsel in distress who needs saving by the handsome prince, as Vivian already rejected Edward’s previous offer and was ready to educate herself independently, and build a new life worthy of herself. Therefore, when Vivian states ‘She rescues him right back’, it suggests that the Prince is in need of saving, just as much as she is. Although Vivian’s life choices were more obviously wrong, she also saved Edward from an uptight and immoral existence. This quote is so important, as Edward previously branded Vivian’s wish for the ‘fairytale’ as an ‘impossible relationship’ and something he could not give her. By pushing aside his fear of heights, and climbing Vivian’s ‘tower’, her apartment block, it symbolizes his unconditional love for her eradicating all his previous conceptions about how relationships should work.
'Hello, can I help you?'
'I was in here yesterday, you wouldn't wait on me.'
'You people work on commission, right?'
'Big mistake. Big. Huge. I have to go shopping now.'
This is an iconic quote, for anyone who has been in an expensive shop and looked down upon by the assistants. The previous day, Vivian visits their shop on Rodeo Drive and politely asks for help. She is still dressed in her escort clothes, and the obviously snooty assistants refuse to serve her as she is not the desired clientele. Firstly, this suggests a central theme of judging a person based on their appearances. Despite Vivian being polite to them, they refuse her based on appearances, and upset the heroine. It is therefore a triumphant moment when she returns, dressed beautifully and laden with shopping bags. The scene is also suggestive of another theme: the influence of money. If dressed correctly, and with the perception that you are rich, people will assume you are of an elite class. Vivian is dressed as lower class, yet has been given all this money by Edward. Therefore, it is only later in the movie when Edward accompanies her that Vivian begins to be treated as a valued individual. It is a sad concept that Edward has to announce he is spending obscene amounts of money before Vivian is treated as a human being.
'Did you like the opera, dear?'
'It was so good, I almost peed my pants!'
'She said she liked it better than Pirates of Penzance.'
This humorous quote comes from Vivian and Edward’s date to the opera in San Francisco. Vivian is dressed beautifully in a red dress, and it appears as the culmination of her transformation from prostitute to classy lady. This is reiterated by her emotional reaction the opera, which suggests that her sensibilities are more suited to upper class activities rather than prostitution. Vivian’s quote is therefore an excellent reminder of her roots, her endearing manner of speech, and that she hasn’t been completely morphed in to a sophisticated Lady by Edward’s pursuits. It also perhaps suggests the expectations of the more refined society. The old lady is shocked when she thinks Vivian has used such common, vulgar language, suggesting that those with enough money to sit in a box are usually refined in their language. It therefore pushes the boundaries between classes, that at the theatre are physically represented by the separation of the boxes from the rest of the audience. Vivian’s sensibility are of the upper classes, but her language remains of the working class.
‘Take care of you’
This quote is the phrase that Vivian, and her friend, flat mate and fellow prostitute say upon leaving each other. At the start of the movie, it is used as a way of warning the other to stay safe when going to a man’s house, and to stay in charge of the situation. It presents the more caring side of Kit, who is otherwise portrayed as a carefree woman who spends the rent money on drugs. Additionally, it also presents the Mother-daughter dynamic between Vivian and Kit; Vivian says it to Kit because she genuinely cares and feels responsible for her safety. At the end of the movie, the two say it to each other as Vivian packs her bag to leave for San Francisco, to complete high school. In this context, it means not only to stay safe, but for Kit to learn what Vivian did: a self worth that means she doesn’t have to be a prostitute if she doesn’t want to. This is affirmed by a short scene at the end of the movie, where Kit is explaining to her new flat mate that she is taking a beauty course, suggesting a change in career.
‘You and I are such similar creatures, Vivian. We both screw people for money.’
This quote is important as it presents the cold-hearted and professional person that Edward Lewis is before he meets Vivian. It suggest a double meaning: that Vivian literally ‘screws’ people, and Edward screws companies in financial trouble over. It also closes the perceived gap between Edward and Vivian, whose professions and wealth deems them in very different social classes to each other. It suggests instead that money is money; whether it is earned by large companies or by an individual, it does not care for class. Furthermore, it presents Edward pre-Vivian as centered wholly on his career, with money as the most important aspect of his life. Edward feels completely comfortable disregarding the workers of these failing companies if he can make money from them. It works to highlight the difference of his attitude post-Vivian, that morality and doing the right thing is more important, embodied in his refusal to take James Morse’s company apart.
'Oh, Phil! About your car.'
'Oh, God! What?'
'It corners like it's on rails.'
This quote references a previous scene in the movie: when Edward takes Stuckey’s new, fast car and picks up Vivian in it from Hollywood Boulevard. When Vivian gets in to give Edward directions, she exclaims ‘this car corners like it’s on rails!’ It is at this point that it is affirmed: Vivian is not your average hooker, as she has knowledge about cars. It prompts her to tell Edward about the enthusiasm that stems from her childhood, allowing Edward to also see that there is more depth to her than her revealing outfit suggests. After Edward says this quote to Stuckey, he smiles at his panic. Yet, it is also sweet as it implies the start of Edward thinking fondly of Vivian. In repeating a quote that she previously said, he not only confuses Stuckey, but affirms that his experiences with Vivian are important memories to him.
'People put you down enough, you start to believe it.'
'I think you are a very bright, very special woman.'
'The bad stuff is easier to believe. You ever notice that?'
As a movie based on a prostitute, the audience is no doubt wondering what decision lead her to reluctantly sell her body. This is only revealed as Vivian begins to open up to Edward also, as they lie in bed talking to each other. This quote reveals the issues in Vivian’s childhood, that her Mother constantly belittled her until she believed she was worth nothing. Vivian’s choices therefore stem not only from circumstance, but the words she constantly heard from her family, and ex-boyfriends that permanently damaged her confidence. In Edward complimenting her, he becomes the first person in a long time to believe in Vivian. This marks the start of her believing in herself again, a process that is firstly dependent on him, but eventually allows her to make her own decisions that will benefit herself first. Despite the humor of the movie, this is then perhaps the most important quote: it saves Vivian from continuing her old life, and ending up as Skinny Marie did, dead in the street.
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Pretty Woman is a movie directed by Garry Marshall. The Pretty Woman study guide contains a biography of Garry Marshall, literature essays, a complete e-text, quiz questions, major themes, characters, and a full summary and analysis.
Pretty Woman is a film directed by Garry Marshall. Pretty Woman literature essays are academic essays for citation. These papers were written primarily by students and provide critical analysis of Pygmalion