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Pretty Woman

Pretty Woman was one of the biggest hits of 1990 that made a superstar out of an actress named Julia Roberts.

Fresh off her Oscar-nominated turn in Steel Magnolias, Roberts got the role of a lifetime as Vivian, a streetwise prostitute who works LA's Hollywood Boulevard. Even though Vivian is smart and very good at her work, it is also apparent that she wants more out of her life. One fateful night, she is picked up by a wealthy businessman named Edward Lewis (Richard Lewis), who has come to town on business after being dumped by his fiancee. After an initial night together, Edward decides some arm candy while he's in town would be a good idea and offers Vivian $3000 to spend the week with him. As can be imagined with such a story, Vivian starts to develop feelings for a man who thinks of her nothing more than a business arrangement, but is smart enough to know that a woman like her getting swept off her feet by a man like Edward is just a fairy tale, like Cinderalla that never happens in real life.

Director Garry Marshall has mounted one of the most charming romantic fantasies ever produced that became the ultimate date movie. Roberts' charismatic starring performance in the lead role earned her an Oscar nomination for Best Actress and her chemistry with leading man Gere is off the charts. The slow burn of their relationship is so much fun to watch, not to mention Vivian's eventual acceptance of what is happening to her. I love when Edward takes her on a shopping spree for clothes and she goes back to the boutique that treated her like dirt when they thought she was just a hooker window shopping and rubs it in the clerk's face.

Mention should also be made of a couple of effective supporting performances by Marshall's good-luck charm Hector Elizondo as the manager of the hotel where Edward and Vivian are staying and Jason Alexander as Edward's friend and business partner, who is so jealous of Edward and Vivian's relationship he can't see straight.

J F Lawton's surprisingly intelligent screenplay is well-serviced by the director, giving us a contemporary version of Cinderella that is pretty hard to resist. Roberts and Gere were re-teamed in 1994 for Runaway Bride but the film barely made a blip on the radar compared to the instant classic that this film became. If you're a sucker for a good love story, have your fill here. 9/10