An analysis of the opening sequence of Pretty Woman written for an A level media studies book

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An analysis of the opening sequence

of “Pretty Woman."

Written for an A level Media studies

text book

Pretty Woman is an American romantic comedy motion picture that was one of the top films at the box office in 1990. The title character, a prostitute named Vivian Ward, was played by Julia Roberts, who received a Golden Globe award for her role. She was also nominated for an Academy Award, Best Actress.

The male title character is a businessman Edward Lewis who is played by Richard Gere. While ruthless in business he is an Asset striper.

Pretty Woman is the highest-grossing film of the romantic comedy genre, and probably the most well-known. Set in Hollywood during the 1990s, its themes include the tension between romantic love and social class: the main characters are complete opposites in social class and money, while both working in occupations which do absolutely nothing for the environment they live in.

The sequence itself runs for approximately 13 minutes. It is preceded by the name of the company which produced the motion picture, Touchstone pictures. The opening shot is a close up of 3 palms which all have what seems to be money and the first words uttered in the entire movie are “It’s all about the money.” Straight away the theme of money is established. The camera then zooms out and follows Edward’s lawyer Philip. Philip begins to suck up all the glory for the party. The viewer can already notice even after a few seconds that he is going to be a very devious and selfish character.

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This establishing shot then cuts to a medium shot of Edward on the phone to his girlfriend. They have an argument and come to a mutual agreement to end the relationship. This points one of Edward’s flaws as a person. He seems to be a very busy man and one who is not very good with relationships. Afterwards Edward heads downstairs where once again in a medium shot he is seen greeting and talking with guests at his party in a very friendly mood.

The camera zooms out to a full shot and Edward is seen leaving his party.

He ...

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