Film: Legally Blonde
Director: Robert Luketic
Grade: B+ (4.5/5)
Description (Amazon): Elle woods has it all. She’s the president of her sorority, a Hawaiian Tropic girl, Miss June in her campus calendar, and, above all, a natural blonde. She dates the cutest fraternity boy on campus and wants nothing more than to be Mrs. Warner Huntington Ill. But, there’s just one thing stopping Warner from popping the question: Elle is too blonde. Growing up across the street form Aaron Spelling might mean something in LA, but nothing to Warner’s East-Coast blue blood family. So, when Warner packs up for Harvard Law and reunites with an old sweetheart from prep school, Ellie rallies all her resources and gets into Harvard, determined to win him back. But law school is a far cry from the comforts of her poolside and the mall. Elle must wage the battle of her life, for her guy, for herself and for all blondes.
Y’all this is going to be REALLY biased because I may or may not watch this movie once a month, and it may or may not be one of my favorites. Please don’t judge me.
Legally Blonde is probably one of those films that’s passed off as “just” a chick flick. It’s a light-hearted, romantic comedy about a young woman who decides to go to Harvard Law so that she can win back the love of her life. So yeah, it starts out with a young woman changing herself because she doesn’t think she’s “good enough” for her ex.
But Legally Blonde is so much more than that.
Sure, it’s ridiculous. Elle is a California sorority girl and fashion major. She’s blonde, wears pink, and is beautiful. Her friends and family expect little from her; they seem to think her purpose is to marry her man and look pretty. And at first, maybe Elle thought that was her purpose too. But then her boyfriend breaks up with her, so she applies (and gets in) to Harvard Law.
From the start, viewers know that there’s more to Elle than meets the eye. She isn’t the “dumb blonde” a sales associate can scam into buying an off-season dress for full price. When she decides she wants to go to Harvard, she studies hard and manages to get a high enough LSAT score to get in. Instead of going with the traditional essay, she defies the norm and makes a video. And when Elle is consistently knocked down at Harvard, she works hard and rises above what people think of her.
To me, it’s empowering. I first saw it in middle school (when it was released in theaters). I had always liked school, but I was afraid that if I did well or worked too hard, I might be seen as a nerd. Like many of my peers, I valued popularity, and it didn’t seem like being smart led to being popular. But a character like Elle made it okay to be smart, and it also made it okay to care about fashion and makeup. You could do both.
I guess I should rewind a bit.
I’ve mentioned this before, but I started studying ballet when I was three. It was my passion, but it wasn’t my only passion. I also loved reading and writing. But in elementary school, it seemed like my teachers and my friends only saw me as a future ballerina and not a capable student. In fact, I hated school at a time when I should have loved it because my teachers made me feel stupid.
It wasn’t until middle school that I started to apply myself and had teachers who believed in me. My sixth grade history teacher had me moved to the accelerated program whereas my elementary school teachers thought I was “slow” because I was quiet (despite my exceptional test scores). So, I moved into the accelerated program, but people still didn’t take me as seriously as I would have liked.
So I guess in some small way I could relate to Elle. I could relate to people judging my potential and my intelligence based on my interests, how I dressed, etc. And maybe part of it was because I was a girl. I was in elementary school in the 90’s and middle school in the early ’00’s, and it still blows my mind that there was the unconscious idea that girls couldn’t be good at science, math, or technology. So yeah, I liked seeing a movie about a woman entering a career field that mostly consisted of men. That was empowering.
I think Legally Blonde is a wonderful mixture of humor, fun, and empowerment. It’ll probably always be one of my favorite movies because I could relate to it so much, especially when I was younger. And come on, Elle has some of the best lines in that movie. It’s absolutely ridiculous, and I love it.