Thursday, November 18, 2010

Julia Roberts in Pretty Woman

Julia Roberts received her second Oscar nomination for playing Vivian, a hooker in Pretty Woman. I'm really not sure about Julia's chances of winning as she won the Golden Globe and the movie was a huge success plus she became a HUGE star and Hollywood's sweetheart in the 90s. But I read that the race was between Woodward and Huston. After all, I think that Roberts was the third after Kathy Bates and Anjelica Huston. Nevertheless, I think, that much less people would hate Julia's win had she won for this.

Pretty Woman is very hard to rate. I've seen it at least seven times, but not because it's that good, it's just always on Tv. And actually, I enjoy it every time and I was really looking forward to watching it this time too. It's a typical entertaining romantic comedy wrapped in Garry Marshall's sugar coating, which is not that distracting this time. I don't think that Richard Gere is a great actor but at least he's not as annoying here as he was in Chicago. I have to mention Laura San Giacomo who gives an excellent performance which I especially loved and I don't think that a nom would have been undeserved for her.

However, this movie is totally about its main character, Vivian, and the actress, who plays her, Ms. Julia Roberts. I am 100% sure that had this movie been released in, say, 1964, Julia would have won the Oscar hands down. It's a typical 1960s Cinderella story for both the character and the actress. And people love fairy tales. Pretty Woman's story is highly unlikely, but there's some kind of loveliness in it, which is mostly due to Ms. Roberts: she was so free of all of her later mannerisms and was able to give a heartwarming performance.

In the beginning, we get to know Vivian, who is foul-mouthed, loud, over-the-top, but it's obvious for everyone that it's mainly acting and pretending. However, she gets the sympathy of the audience instantly: the role itself is surprisingly a lot like Michelle Pfeiffer's in The Fabulous Baker Boys. Call girls, looking for a better life. Unlike Michelle, Julia picked the easier ways to create the character and to get the audience's sympathy. We like both characters, but Susie Diamond is quite unlikeable sometimes, while Vivian is just the usual hooker with a heart of gold. Actually, this might sound as if I'm underestimating Julia here: actually, I think that her choices completely fit the film. She doesn't go deep, but nobody requires it.

That being said, Julia built up Vivian's personality quite well: she has a kind of "I'm just a country girl deep in my heart" feeling, but in a strange way it's not very distracting, because Julia's charm and loveliness makes us forget all these things. It's so natural when she asks Edward how far he got in school and then she says "Wow, your folks must be proud of you." I just felt that it was totally in the right place.

Vivian is some kind of a mix of Cinderella and Eliza Doolittle, and Julia shows both sides of this character. Her clumsiness is very funny and sweet, her vulgar behaviour is entertaining and her attitude is just plain gold. Vivian goes throught a development and Julia is actually quite good at showing these important changes and the potential in Vivian. She just wants to live a decent life and that's it. Again, she's just an ordinary girl. First, she enjoys this new and unusual state, but then she gets too used to it and wants to get more out of life.

Some may say that she's not credible as a hooker, but in my opinion Vivian was not really credible as a hooker either. She's just too sweet for the street. There are no complicated emotions or deep moments there, but that's mostly because of the shallowness of the screenplay: I think Julia lived with every opportunity in the very thin and simple screenplay. Every funny scene is done exceptionally and the drama part is also how it should be. The whole thing is just very well done.

To sum up, this is not a performance to praise for high graces, but it's utterly charming, loveable, funny, entertaining acting, which is free of overacting and loud moments. It serves its purpuse quite properly and gets so much out of the screenplay, which is not the best every-written. Enjoyable and lovely.
So what do you think? This time I cannot accept requests on which lady's review I should do next, so thanks for the understanding.


Louis Morgan said...

A good review, but a performance that really depends on how much you like the actor normally. I have never liked Roberts really, therefore did not really like this performance all that much.

Anonymous said...

Louis & I must be riding the same wave - I think it depends on how well Julia's charisma works with the audience, and alas, it didn't with me.

dinasztie said...

Interesting thoughts. I also think that way, but I don't mind Julia in general, so the performance worked for me.

Anonymous said...

"How much for the whole night?" Roberts looks around the Penthouse suite of the Beverly Wilshire Hotel and says "you couldn't afford it" Gere: "try me" and she says "$300" Gere: "done" --- I turned off the TV at that point not wanting to waste another moment on that complete nonsense.

Shamil Moorad said...

I know its not nice to dwell into the past but when I think of Julia Roberts the first thing that comes into my mind is pretty woman. Kathy bates didn't have the type of Oscar type role but Julia is what I call Oscar winning performance as Vivian for pretty woman and she was totally robbed off the Oscar and Kathy stole it from her. the look on julias face made her disappointed and sad when she lost