Film Structural and Component Analysis – Pretty Woman


Pretty Woman is a 1990 film that stars Julia Roberts who plays a prostitute character who goes by the name Vivian Ward and Richard Gere who plays a rich businessman by the name Edward Lewis. The movie is directed by Garry Marshall and produced by Arnon Milcahn together with Steven Reuther. The classic movie also has other interesting characters like James Morse played byRalph Bellamy, Phillip Stuckey played by Jason Alexander, Kit De Luca played by Laura San Giacomo, David Morse played by Alex Hyde-White and Elizabeth Stuckey. Other stars include Elinor Denahue, Hector Elizondo and Judith Baldin who play Bridget, Barney Thompson and Susan characters respectively.The other production staff involved in the making and production of the movie includeJ.F Lawton (Screenplay), Charles Minsky (Cinematography), David Haber (Art Director), James N. Howard (Music) and Priscilla Nedd together with Raja Gosne for the  film editing.

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The movie itself is a Disney Cinderella like story that sees Julia Roberts (Vivian Ward) play a prostitute who meets Richard Gere (Edward Lewis)a very wealthy business man who notices her and invites her to be his escort for a week for everything he would need her for but not sex reasons. Initially Lawton the script writer had written a dark, gritty drama  which had the title 3,000 but it was later changed to make it lighter and more interesting. In the 1980s 3,000 Vivian was supposed to be a drug addicted who gets ditched later by Edward but as a result of test audiences who wanted more of a Cinderella good fairly tale ending, the dark script ending was changed to be the romantic comedy we have today. While 3,000 shows Vivian rescued for a week and introduced to the lavish lifestyle of Edward Lewis then return to the previous lifestyle – the poor drug addict, Pretty Woman has Vivian Ward been bought for a week by Edward Lewis then having both of them fall in love.Although she maintains she never did, it is believed that the executive producer Laura Ziskin changed the ending of the movie with the addition of the famous line “And she rescues him right back”. In People Magazine she says “I didn’t want a movie whose message would be that some nice guy will come along and give you nice clothes and lots of money and make you happy” (1991 People Magazine). Pretty Woman is sometime described as a real life Cinderella story as it acted as a career launcher for Julia Roberts. She rose to superstardom through this Romantic Comedy from which she became a household Hollywood name earning her a Academy Award nomination and a twenty year record being Hollywood’s highestpaid female actor.

Pretty Woman’s Film Structure

The Romanic film uses the three-act-structure in which the successful and wealthy lawyer Edward Lewis hires the prostitute Vivian Ward to be his escort for various business events and parties since he doesn’t want to attend them alone considering his status. An attraction develops and Edward finds it hard to let the beautiful, kindhearted Vivian away from him.

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Edward Lewis is having problems with his girlfriend and they break up when since she doesn’t want to attend parties and especially one held by his partner Phillip Stuckey. He later leaves in Stuckey’s Lotus.He gets lost and ends up along Hollywood Boulevard trying to ask for directions. He meets the hooker Vivian Ward who gives her the directions who ends up driving him to his hotel in Beverly Hills for a charge. He ends up asking her in for the night for which he pays more. It turns out to be a very uncomfortable night at first.In the morning he requests her to be with him for the entire week for $3,000. He provides her money for clothes and explains to her she will be his Beck and call for the week without any strings attached. She will be with him for the parties and business events. When she goes to buy appropriate clothes the Rodeo Drivesaleswoman won’t serve her as she is dressed as a hooker so she returns to the hotel. The hotel manager (Hector Elizondo) stops her on her way up and points out to her that they would not be letting her in was it not for Mr. Edward who happens to be a very special guest at the hotel. Barney –the manager helps her with getting a dinner outfit and coaches her on dinner etiquette. She looks impressive with her new look, it amazes Edward when he returns. They attend the business dinner which goes smoothly and Edward is preoccupied with the deal afterwards.

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When Vivian narrates the ordeal the previous day with the saleswoman, Edward takes her shopping and spends a lot of money on her for clothes. He later leaves her and goes back to his work. She passes by the shop to show the saleswoman what mistake she had done by refusing to serve her then back to the hotel now looking like a classy lady. Edward gets back still preoccupied, the bath together as talk about the circumstance that have brought them to the point they are. The following day they go to the Polo. Vivian is chatting with David Morse grandson to Phillip who Edward is doing business with. Phillip worries that she might be a spy but Edward reassures him by telling him about how they met. Phillip tries to hook up with Vivian something that Vivian is unhappy about and later when they get back she is furious with Edward for telling Phillip about her something that made him come onto her. She wants to leave but he persuades her to stay for the week.

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The next day Edward is out from work early. He takes her on a date in his Jet to the Opera. She is really moved. When they return he falls asleep as she gets ready for bed. Unlike other customers, she kisses her on the lips then they make love. During breakfast he offers to put her in an apartment so he can continue seeing her. She is insulted by this since she wants a different fairytale. Edward leaves for work. Kit her hooker friend comes to the hotel and notes she is in love with him something she denies. Edward has a last minute change of mind about the deal with Morse since he wants more time off something inspired by Vivian as he now sees a new way of life. Better than money. Phillip is furious about this and goes to the hotel where he blames Vivian for the change of mind in Edward. He comes onto her again and hits her Edward returns and pulls him off then throws him out. Vivian leaves and goes back to Kit and readies up for San Francisco. Instead of going to the airport he goes to her home driven by the chauffeur that drove her and climbs up fire escape – despite the fact that he was afraid of heights before –with a rose in his mouth.

Film Components analysis

Components and How They Worked To Convey Message and Meaning

The movie saw proper direction and production. The use and artistry of movie making components was well observed with proper use and setting of mise en scene, lighting, photography, editing, movement and sound. Here are the different scenes that give show the variety in use of the components, structures, lighting, sound and angle shots.

Photography and Movement

When the movie starts we see Vivian outside the bar talking to friends. Camera moves fast showing those who talk shifting from person to person as they talk. When they meet for the first time they are standing in front of a car talking. The camera focuses on them making everything else blurry. As she goes around the city for a dress she is in the middle of the screen appearing larger and taller than others in the scene in the streets. When she changes clothes and Edward sees her, the camera focuses on his face so we can be able to see his reaction when he sees Vivian. At the horse show we see the camera moving slowly between them, this makes the scene seem more romantic.

Mise en scene

When Vivian is preparing to go hooking we are shown  her room which is messy, this reflects her life which also gives the viewer the idea that she is poor. When on the streets, the place is dirty and it emphasizes the line of work these women are in. In the scene at the night club we see Vivian talking to her flat-mate about her spending rent money on drugs  giving the idea that she is a better person driven to that work by circumstances. She even asks her “don’t you want to get out of this?” This tells us she want to leave prostitution is she could and want her to be incontrol of her own life. Life, props and setting changes when Edward moves her to the hotel. It is fancy, clean, spacious and colorful which gives the idea of the kind of life Edward is leading. At Edward’s party we can hear the conversation in which we hear “it is all about the money” introducing the money theme. There is also a magic trick happening and we can see a coin being removed from a woman’s ear then someone says “Penny for the ear, how much for the rest”. This emphasizes the money theme while introducing the prostitution theme. The party mise en scene shows a very posh setting due to the building, furniture, clothes and apartments we see here. Also, the fact that everytime we see Edward we see people talking to him tells us he is important and respected. Most of the things he says in the party indicate that he is thinking more about work rather than the party.Most of the places Edward goes to do business are fancy but are characterized by scenes that are not as colorful as the room they stay in with Vivian. The places have people with black, brown or grey suit and the settings like walls are usually brown or close to that. This is intended to make the places and work boring and tiresome in comparison to time Edward spends with Vivian. It show the need and use for him wanting more Vivian type of life than the work and money making one. The colorfulness is seen every time Vivian is out with Edward.


As for lighting, when the movie starts, the setting at Vivian’s place is dark – barely lighted compared to scenes with Edward and his wealth. As time goes at the hotel we see the light get a bit low with somehow a reddish tone which gives a feel for romance in the air between them. At the theater and other dates, we see Vivian’s face more lighted than that of Edward which helps us see how much happier and impressed she is impressed by those places compared to Edward.


The sound is this movie complements is. The dialogue is perfect as it helps the audience get a clear message of the livelihood of the cast and their intentions. It gives a clear indication that it didn’t start as a love story. The sound effects throughout the movies remain mild mostly with the sound of water and outside noise. There is music and most notably the Pretty Woman song which is repeated in some scenes. A good instance is when she is dressing up which sets the mood and makes the viewer aware of the pretty woman we realize as she dresses and when done. The sounds in the movie are ideally realistic and effective.


The movie is great but it does not lack a number of goofs/mistakes that can be seen in its editing. Here are five such instances:

When Vivian is eating a pancake, when she takes a second bite there is only one bite missing and also it looks like it has a different pattern which indicates it might not be the same cake.At the penthouse, the suite curtains color is are pale but they are blue the next morning. When she gives Edward a choice of condoms she holds them in a certain order, in the next scene she has the four condoms in a different order but then later we see her holding them in the first order which shows some discontinuity. During the dinner we see the sorbets in the silver dishes disappear but latter appear during the dinner. There is a scene where Vivian is in a limo and it pulls away we see a Rolls coming up behind to park in front of the entrance. During the limo u-turn there is a shot through the limo’s rear window and we don’t see the Rolls and the parking zone is empty when Vivian looks back at the hotel entrance. During the shopping the position of Vivian’s purse keeps shifting from under one arm to the other. However, the editing of the movie is great as a whole.


The filmfrom the word go was bound to be a success. Looking at how the film was set and directed one would expect it to be an instant success. The stars for exampleare so much real, they are pretty and comfortable with each other. Seeing the young Gere and Roberts together made you feel like they are a real world couple. They are both funny and the roles they played were well done. All of the other stars in the romantic comedy also do a great job. The movie plot and structure is something else that contributed to its success. The script was well written and especially after the changes made to the darker 3,000 script which would also have been great with this great cast and crew. The lighting, the sound, photography and editing of the movie even with the few goofs and mistakes are remarkable and there is no doubt the crew did a good job at what they did to make the hit romantic film. It was and still is a great film.

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